Skip to main content

Full text of "The secret societies of all ages and countries"

See other formats








3 1924 092 567 050 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


Dalla straordinarieti degli effetti certo puo indursi la straordi- 
narietk, la grandezza, 1' insistenza delle cagioni ; ma P intreccio e 
r alterno prevalere di queste, 1' attrazione che esercitano, sfaggono 
all' analisi. H mistero precinge la nottuma fecondazioue. Dai piii 
disparati sentlmenti trae vigore la setta. Le materie plu preziose ed 
iiisieme le meno elette concorrono a formare qnesto gigante, rifiisione 
ciclopica e tetra di quanto s' agita, ribolle e schiuma nelle viscere 
sociali. — G. De Casteo. 

From the extraordinary nature of the effects we may infer the 
extraordinary nature, grandeur, and permanency of the causes ; but 
their connection, Tarying predominance, and mutual attraction, escape 
all analysis. Mystery surrounds the obscure fecundation. Sects 
draw vigour from the most opposite sentiments. The most exalted 
as well as the meanest elements concur in forming this giant, a 
Cyclopean and black fusion of all that seethes, boils, and ferments in 
the social viscera. 






VOL. 1. 



©ubIiajietB in aDrtiinatg to ftet JBlajestH, 




The numbers refer to the §. 


REFACE xiii 

1 . Intelligibility and nature of Secret Societies. , 
2. Classification of Secret Societies. 3. Re- 
ligious .Sdoieties. 4. Political Societies. 5. Aims of Po- 
litical Societies. 6. Religious Secret Societies. 7. Most 
perfect human Type. 8. Causes of high mental Develop- 
ment. 9. Primitive Culture. 10. True Doctrines of Na- 
ture and Being. 11. Fundamental Principles of true 
Knowledge possessed by the Ancients ; the Seven Properties 
of Eternal Nature. 12. Key to Mystic Teaching. 13. 
Mystic Teaching summarized. 14. How true Knowledge 
came to be lost. 15. Original Spirit of the Mysteries and 
Results of their Decay. 16. The Mysteries under their 
Astronomical Aspect. 17. Astronomical Aspects continued. 
18. Uniformity of Dogmas. 19. Secret Societies no lou- 
, ger needed. . 

vi Analytical Table of Contents. 

Book I. 

I. MA.GI.— 20. Derivation of term Magus. 21. Antiquity of 

the Magi. 22. Zoroaster. 23. Doctrine of Zoroaster. 24. 
The Light worshipped. 25. Origin of the word Deus. 
26. Mode of Initiation. 27. Myth of Kustam. 

II. MiTHRAics. — 28. Mysteries of Mithras. 29. Origin of 
Mithraic worship. 30. Dogmas. 31. Kites of Initiation. 
32. Kites derived from Magism. 

III. Bkahmins and Gymnosophists. — 33. Vulgar creed of 
India. 34. Secret Doctrines. 35. Brahma and Buddha. 
36. Asceticism. 37. Gynmosophists. 38. Places for 
Celebrating Mysteries. 39. Initiation. 39a. Brahm and 

' Brahma. 40. Ineffable Name Aum. 41. The Lingam. 
42. The Lotos. 

IV. Egyptian Mysteries. — 43. Antiquity of Egyptian Civi- 
lization. 44. Temples of Ancient Egypt. 45. Egyptian 
Priests and Kings. 46. Exoteric and Esoteric Doctrines. 
47. Egyptian Mythology. 48. The Phoenix. 49. The 
Cross. 50. Places of Initiation. 51. Process of Initia- 
tion. 52. Mysteries of Serapis. 53. Mysteries of Osiris. 
54. Isis. 

V. Metamorphoses op the Legend of Isis. — 55. Spread 
of Egyptian Mysteries. 56. Dionysiaca or Bacchic Mys- 
teries. 57. Sabazian Mysteries. 58. Mysteries of the 
Cabiri. 59. Eleusinian Mysteries. 60. Doors of Horn 
and Ivory. 61. Suppression of Eleusinian Mysteries. 
62. Thesmophoria. 63. Aim of Grecian Mysteries more 
moral than religious. 

VI. Chinese and Japanese Mysteries. — 64. Chinese Meta- 
physics. 65. Introduction of Chinese Mysteries. 66. 
Parallel between Buddhism and Roman Catholicism. 67. 

Analytical Table of Contents. vii 

Lau-Tze. 68. Modern Chiaese Societies. 69. Japanese 
Mysteries. 70. Japanese Doctrines. 71. The Lama. 

VII. Mexican and Peruvian Mtstebies. — 72. American 
Aborigines. 73. Mexican Deities. 74. Cruelty of Mexi- 
can Worship. 75. Initiation into Mysteries. 76. The 
Greater Mysteries. 77. Human Sacrifices. 78. Clothing 
in Bloody Skin. 79. Peruvian Mysteries. 

Vni. Deuids. — 80. The Druids the Magi of the West. 
81. Temples. 82. Places of Initiation. 83. Rites. 
84. Doctrines. 85. Political and Judicial Power. 86. 
Priestesses. 87. Abolition. 

IX. Scandinavian Mysteries. — 88. Drottes. 89. Ritual. 
90. Astronomical Meaning. 

Book II. 

I. Cabala. — 91. Its Origin. 92. Its Progress. 93. Its Date. 
94. Book of the Creation. 95. Different Kinds of Cabala. 
96. Visions of Ezekiel. 97. The Creation out of Nothing. 
98. Diffusion of Cabalistic Ideas. ^~ 

n. The Gnostics. — 99. Character of Gnosticism. 100. Doc- 
trines. 101. Development of Gnosticism. 102. Spirit 
of Gnosticism. 

Book III. 


I. Sons of the Widow. — 103. Origin of Religion of Love. 
104. Manes. 105. Manichaeism. 106. Life of Manes. 
107. Progress of Manichaeism. 108. Doctrines. 109. 
Spread of Religion of Love. 

viii Analytical Table of Contents. 

II. The Gat Science. — 110. Transition from Ancient to 
Modern Initiations. 111. Spirit of Ancient Secret Socie- 
ties. 112. Spirit of Modem Secret Societies. 113. Cause 
and Progress of .Heresy. 114. Efforts and Influence of 
Heretics. 115. The Albigenses. 116. Tenets of Albi- 
genses. 117. Aims of Albigenses. 118. Religion of the 
Troubadours. 119. Difficulty to understand the Trou- 
badours. 120. Poetry of Troubadours. 121. Degrees 
among Troubadours. 122. Courts of Love. 

III. The Co"nsolation. — 123. Historical Notices. 124. Doc- 
trines and Tenets. 

IV. Chivalry. — ^125. Original Aim. 126. Knights the Mi- 
litary Apostles of the Religion of Love. 127. Tenets and 

Book IV. 

I. Lodge of Wisdom. — 128. Various Sects sprung from 

Manichajism. 129. Secret Docti-ines of Islamism. 130. 
Candidati. 131.' Cruelty of Babeck the Gay. 132. Ish- 
maelites. 133. Teaching of the Lodge of Cairo. 134. 
Progress of Doctrines. 

II. Assassins. — 135. Foundation of Order. 136. Influence 
of Hassan. 137. Catechism of the Order. 138. Devo- 
tion of Followers. 139. The Imaginary Paradise. 140. 
Sanguinai-y Character of Hassan. 141. Further Instances 
of Devotion in Followers. 142. Christian Princes in 
League with Assassins. 143. Extinction of -Sect. 

III. Drdses. — 144. Origin of Sect. 145. Doctrines. 146 
Recent Events. 

Analytical Table of Contents. ix 

Book V. 


147. Foundation of Order. 148. Its Progress. 149. Account 
of Commanderies. 150. Imputations against the Order. 
151. Plots against the Order. 152. Attentions paid to 
Grand Master Molay. 153. Charges against Templars. 
154. Burning of Knights. 155. James de Molay burnt. 
156. .Mysteries of the Knights Templars. 157. The 
Temple and the Church. 158. The Temple the Symbol 
of the Holy Spirit. 159. Doctrines. 160. Initiation. 
161. Cursing and Spitting on the Cross. 162. The Tem- 
plars the Opponents of the Pope. 163. Baphomet. 164. 
Effects of the Downfall of the Knights, of the Temple. 
165. Connexion with Freemasonry. 

Book VI. 

I. Holt Vehm. — 166. Origin and Objects of Institution. 
167. Officers and Organization. 168. Language and Rules 
of Initiated. 169. Procedure. 170. Execution of Sen- 
tences. 171. Decay of the Institution. 172. Kissmg the 

n. BeatiPaoli. — 173. Character of the Society. 174. Ten- 
dencies and Tenets. 175. Account of Sicilian writer. 

Book VII. 


I. Alchtmists. — 176. Astrology perhaps secret Heresy. 
177. Process by which Astrology degenerated. 178. 

X Analytical Table of Contents. 

Scientific Value of Alchymy. 179. The Tincture. 180. 
Aims of Alchymy. 181. History of Alchymy. 182. 
Specimen of Alchymistio Language. 183. Personal Fate 
of the Alchymists. 
II. RosiCRuciANS. — 184. Merits of the Kosicrueia,ns. 185. 
Origin of Society doubtful. 186. Origin of Name. 187. 
Statements concerning themselves. 188. Poetical Fictions 
of Rosicrucians. 189. Progress and Extinction of Eosi- 
crucians. 190. Transition to Freemasons. 

Book VIII. 


I. Legend op the Temple. — 191. Ancestry of Hiram Abiff. 

192. Hiram, Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba. 
rnr Origin. — Traditions.— 193. The First Masons. 194. 
/ Periods of Freemasonry. 195. Freemasoniy derived from 

"many sources. 

{ III. Rites AND Customs. — 196. List of Rites. 197. Masonic 
^' Customs. 198. Masonic Alphabet. 

IV. The Lodge. — 199. Interior Arrangement of Lodge. 
200. Modern Lodge. 201. Officers. 202. Opening the 

V. Genuine and Spurious Masonry. — 203. Distinction 
between Genuine and Spurious Masonry. 204. Some 
Rites only deserve special mention. 

VI. Ceremonies op Initiation. — 205. The Apprentice. 206. 
Fellow-craft. 207. Master. Ceremony of Initiation and 
Story of Hii-am's Murder. 208. The Legend Explained. 
209. The Raising of Osii-is. 210. Blazing Star. 

VII. Holt Rotal Arch. — 211. Officers. 212. Ceremonies. 
213. Passing the Veils. 

VIH. Grand elected Knight op Kadosh. — 214. The Term 

Analytical Table of Contents. xi 

Kadosh. 213. Reception into the Degree. 216. The 
Mysterious Ladder. 217. The Seven Steps. 

IX. Prince or Rose-Croix. — 218. Distinct from Rosioru- 
cian, and has yarioua names. 219. Officers and Lodge. 
220. Reception in the First Apartment. 221. Second 
Apartment. 222. Reception in the Third Apartment. 

X. Rites of Misraim and Memphis. — 223. Anomalies of 
Rite of Misraim. 224. Organization. 223. History and 
Constitution. 226. Rites and Ceremonies. 227. Rite of 

XI. Modern Knights Templars. — 228. Origin. 229. Sup- 
posititious List of Grand Masters. 230. Revival of the 
Order. 231, The Levitioon. 232. Ceremonies of Initia- 

XII. Freemasonry in England and Scotland. — 233. 
Freemasonry in England. 234. Freemasonry in Scotland. 
233. Modem Freemasonry. 

Xm. Freemasonry in France. — 236. Introduction of Free- 
masonry into France. 237. Chevalier Ramsay. 238. 
Philosophipal Rites. 239. The Duke de Chartres. 

XIV. Chapter of Clermont and the Strict Observance. 
— 240. Jesuitical Influence. 241. The Strict Observance. 

XV. Relaxed Observance. — 242. Organization of Re- 
laxed Observance. 243. Disputes in German Lodges. 
244. Rite of Zinnendorf. 245. African Architects. 

XVI. Congress of Wjlhelmsbad. — 246. Various Con- 
gresses. 247. Discussions at Wilhelmsbad. 248, Re- 
sult of Convention. 

XVn. Freemasonry and Napoleonism. — 249. Masonry 
protected by Napoleon. 250. Spread of Masonry. 251. 
Obsequiousness of Freemasonry. 232. Anti-Napoleonic 

XVni. Freemasonry, the Restoration of the Second 
Empire. — 253. The Society of "France Regenerated." 
254. Priestly Opposition to Masonry. 255. Political In- 

xii Analytical Table of Contents. 

significance of Masonry. 256. Freemasonry and Napo- 
leon III. 257. Jesuitical Manoeuvres. 

XIX. Fbeemasonet in Italy. — 258. Whimsical Societies. 
259. lUuminati in Italy. 260. Freemasonry at jS'aples. 
261. Details of Document. 262. Freemasonry at Venice. 
263. Abasement of Masonry under Napoleon. 264. The 
Freemasonry of the Present in Italy. 265. Reform 

XX. Cagliostko and Egyptian Masonry. — 266. Life of 
Cagliostro. 267. Egyptian Eite. 268. Cagliostro's 

XXI. Adoptive Masonbt. — 269. Historical Notice. 270. 
Organization. 271. Jesuit Degrees. 

XXII. Andkogynous Masonky. — 272. Origin and Tendency. 
273. Earliest Androgynous Societies. 274. Other Andro- 
gynous Societies. 275. Vicious Androgynous Societies. 
276. Knights and Nymphs of the Hose. 277. Mason's 

XXIII. PEKSEcnTioNs OP Feeemasoxby. — 278. Causes of 
Persecution. 279. Instances of Persecution. 280. Anti- 
Masonic Publications. 

XXIV. Schismatic Eites and Sects. — 281. Schismatic 
Rites and Sects. - 282. Ludicrous Degree. 

XXV. Diffusion op the Obder. — 283. Freemasonrv in 
Spain and Portugal. 284. Freemasonry in Russia. 285. 
Freemasonry in Switzerland. 286. Freemasonry in Swe- 
den and Poland. 287. Freemasonry in Holland and Ger- 
many. 288. Freemasonry in Turkey, Asia, Africa, Oceania. 
289. Freemasonry in America. 

XXVI. Futility op Modern Freemasonry. — 290. Vain 
Pretensions of Modern Masonry. 291. Vanity of Masonic 
Ceremonial. 292. Masonry Diffuses no Knowledge. 293. 
Is unfitted for the Task. 294. Decay of Freemasonry. 
295. Masonic Literature. 


\ OR many years the fascinating subject of 
Secret Societies had engaged my atten- 
tion^ and it had long been my intention 
to collect in a comprehensive work all 
the information that could be g'athered from numer- 
ouSj often remote^ and sometimes almost inaccessible 
sources, concerning one of the most curious phases 
of the history of mankind — those secret organiza- 
tions, religious, political, and social, which have 
existed from the most remote ages down to the 
present time. Before, however, I had arranged and 
digested my materials, a review in the " Athenseum" 
(No. 2196), directed my attention to the Italian 
work " II Mondo Secreto," by Signer De Castro, 
whom I have since then had the pleasure of meeting 
at Milan. I procured the book, and intended at 
first to give a translation of it, but though I began 
as a translator, my labours speedily assumed a more 
independent form. Much, I found, had to be omitted 

xiv Preface. 

from an original coloured by a certain political bias, 
and somewhat too indulgent to various Italian 
political sects, who, in many instances, were scarcely 
more than hordes of brigands. Much, on the other 
hand, had to be added from sources, chiefly English 
and German, unknown to the Italian author ; much 
had to be placed on a different basis and in another 
light; and again, many societies not mentioned by 
Signor De Castro had to be introduced to the reader, 
such as the Garduna, the Chauffeurs, Fenians, Inter- 
national, 0-Kee-Pa, Ku-Klux, Inquisition, Wahi- 
bees ; so that, with these additions, and the amplificar 
tions of sections in the original Italian, forming fre- 
quently entirely new articles, the work, as it now is 
presented to the English public, though in its frame- 
work retaining much of its foreign prototype, may 
yet claim the merit of being not only essentially 
original, but the most comprehensive account of 
Secret Societies extant in EngHsh, French, German, 
or Italian, the leading languages of Europe; for 
whatever has been written on the subject in any one 
of them has been consulted and put under contribu- 
tion. In English there is no work that can at aU 
compete with it, for the small book published in 
1836 by Charles Knight, and entitled, " Secret 
Societies of the Middle Ages," embraces four 
societies only. 

Anxious to utilize my latest memoranda, I have 
taken advantage of the MS. having for some time 

Preface. xv 

been in the publisher's hands, before the second 
volume went to press, to insert several additional 
sections, though at the expense of methodical 
arrangement ; or to give supplemental details from 
information collected during my recent twelve 
months' wanderings in Italy, the country fo/r excel- 
lence of secret societies. 

The student who wishes for more ample informa- 
tion will have to consult the lists of authorities given 
at the head of each Book, as it was thought best 
not to encumber the text with foot-notes, which 
would have swelled the work to at least twice its 
present extent. The reader may rest satisfied that 
few statements are made which could not be sup- 
ported by numerous and weighty authorities ; though 
dealing as we do here with societies whose very 
existence depended on secrecy, and which, therefore, 
as a matter of policy, left behind them as little 
documentary evidence as possible, the old distich 
applies with peculiar force : — - 

" What is hits is history, 
And what is mist is mystery." 

Again, bearing in mind that the imperative com- 
pass of the work exacted a concise setting forth of 
facts — ranging as the subject does over a surface so 
yast — I have been careful to interrupt the narrative 
only by such comments and reflections as would 
seem almost indispensable for clearing up obscurities 
or supplying missing historical links. 

xvi Preface. 

It may at first appear as if some societies nad 
improperly been inserted in this work as " secret 
societies ; the Freemasons, for instance. Members 
of secret associations, it might be objected, are not 
in the habit of proclaiming their membership to the 
. world, but no Freemason is ashamed or, afraid of 
avowing himself silch; nay, he is rather proud of 
the fact, and given to proclaim it somewhat obtru- 
sively ; yet the most rabid Celt, who wishes to have 
a hand in the regeneration of his native land by 
joining the Fenian brotherhood, has sense enough to 
keep his affiliation a profound secret from the un- 
initiated. But the rule I have followed in adopting 
societies as " secret," was to include in my collection 
all such as had or have "secret rites and ceremonies" 
kept from the outer world, though the existence of 
the society itself be no secret at all. In fact, no 
association of men can for any length of time re- 
main a secret, since however anxious the members 
may 'be to shroud themselves in darkness, and 
remain personally unknown, the purpose for which 
they band together must always betray itself by 
some overt acts ; and wherever there is an act, the 
world surmises an agent ; and if none that is visible 
can be found, a secret one is suspected. The Thugs, 
for instance, had every desire to remain unknown ; 
yet the fact of the existence of such a society was 
suspected long before any of its members were dis- 
covered. On the principle also of their being the 

Preface. xvii 

propounders of secret doctrines, or doctrines clothed 
in language understood by the adepts alone, Alchy- 
mists and Mystics have found places in this work ; 
and the Inquisition, though a state tribunal, had its 
secret agents and secret procedure, and may there- 
fore justly be included in the category of Secret 

Secret Societies, religious and political, are again 
springing iip on many sides : the religious may be 
dismissed without comment, as they are generally 
without any novelty or significance, but those that 
have political objects ought not to be disregarded as 
without importance. The International, Fenians, 
Communists, Nihilists, Wahabees, are secretly aim- 
ing at the overthrow of existing governments and 
the present order of things. The murders of 
Englishmen perpetrated by native Indians point 
to the machinations of secret societies in British 
Indi%. Before the outbreak of the great Indian 
mutiny, English newspaper correspondents spoke 
rather contemptuously of some religious ceremony 
observed throughout British India of carrying small 
loaves from village to village, but this ceremony 
was the summons to the people to prepare for the 
general rising ; hence the proceedings of the natives 
should be closely watched. 

The first volume and a portion of the second 
having passed through the press while the author 
was in Italy, the revisal of the last proofe had to be 

I. b 

xviii Preface. 

confided to another hand; hence some errata will 
be found in those portions of the work, an evil 
almost unavoidable, under the circumstances, in a 
text so full of proper names, whose correct spelling 
frequently is scarcely fixed, and containing numer- 
ous .quotations which could only be verified by 
reference to the originals whence they were taken, 
which in this case was clearly impossible. A list 
of the more' important errata with their corrections 
has been appended at the end of vol. ii. 

For the sake of clearness and of facilitating 
reference, the text has been divided throughout 
into short sections with appropriate headings, and 
numbered continuously. 

November, 1874. » 


" The cause which I knew not, I searched out." 

Job xxix. 16. 

" Ignis ubique latet, naturam amplectitur omnem ; 
Cuncta parit, renovat, dividit, urit, alit." 



\ NTELLIQIBILITY and Nature of Secret 
Societies. — For those true thinkers who 
look upon history as a tissue of won- 
drous design^ there is nothing accidental 
in the life of the world. For them the appearance 
and action of secret societies are no singular and 
inexplicable phenomenon^ no transitory form, no 
unexpected and fugitive effect, but the intelligible 
and foreseen result of known causes. 

Secret societies once were as necessary as open 
societies ; the tree presupposes a root. Beside the 
empire of Might, the idols of fortune, the fetishes 
of superstition, there must in every age and state 
have existed a place where the empire of Might was 
at an end, where the idols were no longer wor- 
shipped, where the fetishes were derided. Such a 
place was the closet of the philosopher, the temple 
of the priest, the subterranean cave of the sectary. 

4 Secret Societies. 

2. Glassifieation of Secret Societies. — Secret so- 
cieties may be classed under the foUowing heads : 
1. Eeligious: such as the Egyptian or Eleusinian 
Mysteries. — 2. Military : Knights Templars. — 3. 
Judiciary : Yehmgerichte. — 4. Scientific : Alchy- 
mists. — 5. Civil: Freemasons. — 6, Political: Car- 
bonari. But the line of division is not always 
strictly defined; some that had scientific objects 
combined theological dogmas therewith — as the 
Rosicrucians, for instance ; and political societies 
must necessarily influence civil life. We may 
therefore more conveniently range secret societies 
in the two comprehensive divisions of religious and 
political. . 

3. Religious Societies. — Religion has had its secret 
societies from the most ancient times; they date, 
in fact, from the period when the true religious know- 
ledge — which, be it understood, consisted in the 
knowledge of the constitution of the universe and 
the Eternal Power that had produced, and the laws 
that maintained it — possessed by the first men, 
began to decay among the general mass of man- 
kind. The genuine knowledge was to a great ex- 
tent preserved in the ancient " Mysteries," though 
even these were already a degree removed from the 
first primeval native wisdom, since they repre- 
sented only the type, instead of the archetype; 
namely, the phenomena of outward temporal nature, 
instead of the realities of the inward eternal nature, 

Introduction. 5 

of wHch this visible universe is the outward mani- 
festation. Since the definition of this now recovered 
genuine knowledge is necessary for understanding 
much that was taught in the religious societies of 
antiquity, we shall, further on, enter into fuller 
details concerning it. 

4. Political Societies. — Politically secret societies 
were the provident temperers and safety-valves of 
the present and the powerful levers of the future. 
Without them the monologue of absolutism alone 
would occupy the drama of history, Appearing more- 
over without an aim, and producing no effect, if it 
had not exercised the wiU of man by inducing re- 
action and provoking resistance. 

Every secret society is an act of reflection, there- 
fore of conscience. For reflection, accumulated and 
fixed, is conscience. In so far, secret societies are 
in a certain manner the expression of conscience in 
history. For every man has in himself a Something 
which belongs to him, and which yet seems as if it 
were not a thing within him, but, so to speak, with- 
out him. This obscure Something is stronger than 
he, and he cannot rebel against its dominion nor 
withdraw himself or fly from its search. This part 
of us is intangible ; the assassin's steel, the execu- 
tioner's axe cannot reach it; allurements cannot 
seduce, prayers cannot soften, threats cannot terrify 
it. It creates in us a dualism, which makes itself 
felt as remorse. When man is virtuous, he feels 

6 Secret Societies. 

himself one, at peace with himself; that obscure 
Something does neither oppress nor torture him : 
just as in physical nature the powers of man's body, 
when working in harmony, are unfelt (11) ;. but 
when his actions are evil, his better part rebels. 
Now secret societies are the expression of this 
dualism, reproduced on a grand scale in nations ; 
they are that obscure Something of politics acting 
in the public conscience, and producing a remorse, 
which shows itself as " secret society," an avenging 
and purif3dng remorse. It regenerates through 
death, and brings forth Hght through fire, out of 
darkness, according to eternal laws. No one discerns 
it, yet every man may feel it. It may be compared 
to an invisible star, whose light, however, reaches 
us ; to the heat coming from a region where no 
human foot will ever be placed, but which we feel, 
and can demonstrate with the thermometer. 

Indeed, one of the most obvious sentiments that 
gives rise to secret societies is that of revenge, but 
good and wise revenge, different from personal 
rancour, unknown where popular interests are in 
question ; that desires to punish institutions and not 
individuals, to strike ideas and not men — the grand 
collective revenge, the inheritance that fathers 
transmit to their children, a pious legacy of love, 
that sanctifies hatred and enlarges the responsibility 
and character of man. For there is a legitimate 
and necessary hatred, that of evil, which forms the 

Introduction. 7 

salvation of nations. Woe to the people that knows 
not how to hate, because evil is intolerance, hypo- 
crisy, superstition, slavery ! 

5. Aims of PoKtical Societies. — The aim of the 
sectaries is the erection of the ideal temple of 
progress ; to fecundate in the bosom of sleeping or 
enslaved peoples the germs of a future liberty. 
This glorious edifice, it is true, is not yet finished, 
and perhaps never wiU be, but the attempt itself 
invests secret societies with a moral grandeur; 
whereas, without such aim, their struggle would be 
debased into a paltry egotistical party-fight. It 
also explains the existence of secret societies, 
though it does not perhaps justify it. For if I 
am asked to give my honest opinion, I do not 
think that secret societies will ever accomplish 
what they promise. As a lover of justice, I cannot 
but approve of the theoretical striving after liberty 
and equality ; but as a thinking being, judging by 
the experience of the past and the nature of things, 
in which good and evil must exist for ever, and 
. for ever be at war, such striving must also for 
ever remain without any adequate practical result. 
The cause of liberty, indeed, may be, and often has 
been — nay, is daily being — benefited ; but if uni- 
versal, social, and political equality were established 
to-day, it would scarcely last till to-morrow. It is un- 
deniable, that as long as men have unequal gifts and 
unequal passions, so long will equality among men 

8 Secret Societies. 

remain a dream. And it -would be difficult to name 
any country that derived substantial and permanent 
benefit from the operation of any secret political 
society. In fact, neither of the two states enjoying the 
greatest freedom, political and social, viz. England 
and Switzerland, ever had any secret societies of 
national comprehensiveness or historical importance. 
It is true, when the Swiss in 1308 made themselves 
free from the Austrian yoke, thirty men had formed 
a pact to effect that deliverance ; they were con- 
spirators, and even then their plans were greatly 
modified by the conduct and death of Gessler. And 
Tell did not kill the latter because he (Tell) was a 
member of a secret society, and was bound to do so, 
but because the Austrian governor had done hiTn 
a personal wrong, by aiming at his child's life. 

6. Religious Secret Societies.' — ^But the earliest 
secret societies were not formed for political, so much 
as for religious purposes, embracing every art and 
science ; wherefore religion has truly been called the 
archeology of human knowledge. Comparative 
mythology reduces all the appareptly contradictory 
and opposite creeds to one primeval, fundamental, 
and true comprehension of nature and her laws ; 
all the metamorphoses, appositions, and conver- 
sations of one or more gods, recorded in the 
sacred books of the Hindoos, Parsees, and other 
nations, are indeed founded on simple physical 
facts, disfigured and misrepresented, intentionally 

Introduction. 9 

or accidentally. The true comprehension of nature 
was the prerogative of the moat highly developed 
of all races of men (10), viz. the Aryan races, 
whose seat was on the highest point of the moun- 
tain region of Asia, to the north of the Hima- 
layas. South of these lies the' Vale of Cashmere, 
whose eternal spring, wonderful wealth of vege- 
tation, and' general natural features, best adapt it 
to represent the earthly paradise and the blissful 
residence of the most highly favoured human 

7. Most perfect human Type. — So highly favoured 
precisely because nature in so favoured a spot could 
only produce a superior type ; which being, as it 
were, the quintessence of that copious nature, was 
one with it, and therefore able to apprehend it 
and its fulness. For as the powers of nature have 
brought forth plants and animals of different 
degrees of development and perfection, so they 
have produced various types of men in various 
stages of d,evelopment ; the most perfect being, as 
already mentioned, the Aryan or Caucasian type, 
the only one that has a history, and the only one 
that deserves our attention, when inquiring into 
the mental history of mankind. For even where 
the Caucasian comes in contact and intermingles 
with a dark race, as in India and Egypt, it is the 
white man with whom the higher and historical 
development begins. 

10 Secret Societies. 

8. Causes of high Mental Development. — I have 
already stated that climatic and other outward 
circumstances are favourable to high development. 
This is universally known to be true of plants : but 
man is only a plant endowed with consciousness 
and mobility, and therefore it must be true of him ; 
and, in fact, experience proves it. His organs, and 
especially his brain, attain to the highest perfec- 
tion, and therefore he is most fully able to appre- 
hend nature and understand its working ; hence he 
can never be an ignorant barbarian, and hence he 
must from the very first have possessed a know- 
ledge superior even to that he is now so proud of. 
For, as I have shown elsewhere,"^ all barbarism 
among white races is only the sequel of a perished 
civilization. In the same publication^ I have also 
demonstrated what this knowledge was, and how it 
came to be partly lost or perverted. But as this work 
would be incomplete without at least a portion of the 
explanations given in that publication, I must quote 
so much from those articles as will suffice to show 
that man once possessed a true knowledge of nature 
and her working, and that this is the reason why the 
mysteries of the most distant nations had so much 
in common dogmatically and ritually, and why in all 
so much importance was attached to certain figures 

' " Eectangular Eeview," vol. i. p. 404. 
^ Ibid. p. 446. 

Introduction. 1 1 

and ideas, and why all were funereal. The sanctity- 
attributed in all ages and all countries to the number 
seven has not been correctly explained by any known 
writer ; ^ the elucidations I shall oflfer on this point 
will show that the conformityjvith each other of the 
religious and scientific doctrines of nations far apart 
must be due to their transmission from one common 
source, though the enigmatical and mystical forms 
in which this knowledge was preserved were 
gradually taken for the facts themselves. 

The reader will now see that these remarks, the 
object of which he may not have perceived at first, 
are not irrelevant; we cannot understand the 
origin and meaning of what was taught in the 
mysteries without a clear apprehension of man's 
primitive culture and knowledge. 

9. Primitive Culture. — From what precedes it 
will be evident that I am no disciple of the school 
that holds that man has raised himself from a state 
of barbarism to his present civilization. No, I 
belong to those who, at a distance of time which 
startles thought, discern the light of a high mental 
cidture and transcendent powers. As a rule, pre- 
historic ages seem obscure, and men fancy that 
at every retrogressive step they must enter into 
greater darkness. But if we proceed with our eyes 

1 Except, of course, the one from whom I derive my 
information, Jacob Bbhme, concerning whom, see post. 

12 Secret Societies. 

open, the darkness recedes like the horizon as we 
seem to approach it; new light is added to our 
light, new suns are Kt up, new auroras arise before 
us J the darkness, which is only light compacted, 
is dissolved into its original, viz. light; and as 
outwardness implies multiplicity, and inwardness 
unity — there are many branches, but only one root 
— so all religious creeds, even those most disguised 
in absurd and debasing rites and superstitions, the 
nearer we trace them to their source, appear in 
greater and greater purity and nobility, with more 
exalted views, doctrines and aims. For as Tegner 

"... kanslan's grundton ar anda densamma." 
The fundamental tone of feeling is ever the same. 

And as the same poet expresses it, antiquity is 

"... det Atlantis som gick under 
Med hcigre kraft, med adlare begar.'' 

. . . That Atlantis, that perished 
With higher powers and higher aims. 

Thus the ethic odes of Buddha and Zoroaster 
have been regarded as anticipations of the teaching 
of Christianity ; so that even St. Augustin re- 
marked : " What is now called the Christian reli- 
gion existed among the ancients, and was not 
absent from the beginning of the human race until 
Christ came, from which time the true religion 

Introduction. 13 

which existed already began to be called Chris- 

Again, through all the more elevated creeds 
there were certain fundamental ideas which, differ- 
ing and even sometimes distorted in form, may yet 
in a certain sense be regarded as common to all. 
Such were the belief in a Trinity; the dogma that the 
"Logos," or omnific Word, created all things by 
making the Nothing manifest ; the worship of 
light ; the doctrine of regeneration by passing 
through the fire, and others. 

10. The true Doctrines of Nature and Being. — 
But what was the knowledge on which the teaching 
of the mysteries was founded ? It was no less 
than that of the ground and geniture of aU things ; 
the whole state, the rise, the workings, and the 
progress of all nature (16), together with the unity 
that pervades heaven and earth. A few years ago 
this was proclaimed with great sound of trumpets 
as a new discovery, although so ancient an author 
as Homer speaks, in the 8th book of the " Iliad," 
of the golden chain connecting heaven and earth ; 
the golden. chain of sympathy, the occult, all-per- 
vading, aU-uniting influence, called by a variety 
of names, such as anima mwndi, mercwrius philo- 
sophorum, Jacob's ladder, the vital magnetic series, 
the magician's fire, etc. This knowledge, in course 
of time, and through man's love of change, was 
gradually distorted by perverse interpretations, 

14 Secret Societies. 

and overlaid or embroidered, as it were, with 
fanciful creations of man's own brain; and tbus 
arose superstitious systems, which became the 
creed of the unthinking crowd, and have not lost 
their hold on the public mind, even to this day, 
keeping in spiritual thraldom myriads who tremble 
at a thousand phantoms conjured up by priestcraft 
and their own ignorance, whilst 

" Felix qui potuit rerum oognoscere causas ; 
Atque metns omnes et inexorabile fatnim 
Subjeoit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari." 

11. Fundamental Principles of true Knowledge 
possessed by the Ancients. — ^Prom what was taught 
in the mysteries, we are justified in believing that 
the first men knew what follows ; though the know- 
ledge is already dimmed and perverted in the mys- 
teries, the phenomena of outward nature only being 
presented in them, instead of the inward spiritual 
truths symbolized. 

i. All around us we behold the evidences of a 
life permeating all things ; we must needs, there- 
fore, admit that there is a universal, aU-powerful, 
all-sustaining life. 

ii. Behind or above the primeval life which is 
the basis of this system, may be beheld the " Un- 
moved Mover," the only supernatural ens, who, by 
the Word, or " Logos," has spoken forth all things 
out of himself; which does not imply any pantheism. 

Introduction. 15 

for the words of the speaker^ though proceeding 
from hinij are not the speaker himself. 

iii. The universal life is eternal. 

iv. Matter is eternal. 

V. That matter is light. 

vi. Whatsoever is outwardly manifest must have 
existed ideally^ from all eternity, in an archetypal 
figure, reflected in what Indian mythology calls the 
mirror Jfa/a, whence are derived the terms "magus/' 
"magia," "magic," ''image," "imagination," all 
implying the fixing of the primeval, structureless, 
living matter, in a form, figure, or creature. In 
modem theosophy, the mirror Maja is called the 
Eternal Mirror of Wonders, the Virgin Sophia, 
ever bringing forth, yet ever a virgin — the analogue 
of the Virgin Mary. 

vii. The eternal life which thus manifests itself in 
matter is an intelligent life, and this visible universe 
is ruled by the same laws that rule the invisible 
world of forces. 

viii. These laws, according to which the life mani- 
fests itself, are the seven properties of eternal 
nature, six working properties, and the seventh, in 
which the six, as it were, rest, or are combined into 
perfect balance or harmony, i. e. paradise. These 
seven properties, the foundation of all the septenary 
numbers running through natural phenomena and 
all ancient and modern knowledge, are — 1. Attrac- 
tion ; 2. Re-action or Eepulsion; 3. Circulation; 

16 Secret Societies. 

4. Fire; 6. Light; 6. Sound; 7. Body, or compriaal 
of all. 

ix. This septenary is divisible into two ternaries 
or poles, with the fire — symboHzed by a cross — 
in the middle. These two poles constitute the 
eternal dualism or antagonism in nature — the first 
three forming matter or darkness, and producing 
pain and anguish, i. e. heU, cosmically winter ; the 
last three being filled with light and delight, i. e. 
paradise, cosmically summer. 

X. The fire is the great chymist, or purifier and 
transmuter of nature, turning darkness into light. 
Hence the excessive veneration and universal wor- 
ship paid to it by ancient nations; the priests of 
Zoroaster wearing a veil over their mouths for fear 
of polluting the fire with their breath. By the fire 
here of course is meant the empyrean, electric fire, 
whose existence and nature were tolerably well 
known to the ancients. They distinguished the 
moving principle from the thing moved, and called 
the former the igneous ether or spirit, the prin- 
ciple of life, the Deity, You-piter, Vulcan, Phtha, 
Kneph (18, 24) . 

xi. All light is born out of darkness, and must 
pass through the fire to arrive at the light ; there is 
no other way but through darkness, or death, or 
hell — an idea which we find enunciated and repre- 
sented in all the mysteries. As Httle as a plant 
can come forth into the beauty of blossoms, leaves. 

Introduction. 17 

and fruitj without having passed through the dark 
state of the seed and being buried in the earth, 
where it is chymically transmuted by the fire, so 
little can the mind arrive at the fulness of know- 
ledge and enlightenment without having passed 
through a stage of self-darkening and imprison- 
ment, in which it suffered torment, anguish — in 
which it was as in a furnace, in the throes of 

12. Key to Mystic Teaching. — ^That the first men 
possessed the knowledge of the foregoing facts is 
certain, not only from the positive and inferential 
teachings of the mysteries, but also from the monu- 
ments of antiquity, which in grandeur of concep- 
tion and singleness of ideal aim, excel all that 
modern art or industry, or even faith, has accom- 
plished. By bearing this in mind, the reader will 
get a deeper insight into the true meaning of the 
dogmas of initiation, than was attainable by the 
epopts themselves. He will also understand that 
the reason why there was so much uniformity in 
the teaching of the mysteries, was the fact that the 
dogmas enunciated were explanations of universal 
natural phenomena, alike in all parts of the earth. 
In describing the ceremonies of initiation, I shall 
therefore abstain from appending to them a com- 
mentary or exegesis, but simply refer to the para- 
graphs of this introduction, as to a key. 

13. Mystic Teaching summa/rized. — It was theo- 

18 Secret Societies. 

logical, moral, and scientific. Tkeologically tte 
initiated were shown the error of vulgar poly- 
theism and taught the doctrine of the Unity and 
of a future state of reward and punishment; 
morally, the precepts were summed up in the words 
of Christ : " Love thy neighbour as thyself," and in 
those of Confucius : " If thou be doubtfal whether 
an action be right or wrong, abstain from it alto- 
gether ; " scientifically, the principles were such as 
we have detailed above (11), with their natural and 
necessary deductions, consequences and results. 

14. Mow i/rue Knowledge came to he lost. — Though 
I have already on several occasions (e. g. 10), 
alluded to the fact that the true knowledge of 
nature possessed by the first men had in course of 
time become corrupted and intermixed with error, 
it will not be amiss to show the process by which 
this came to pass. It is weU known that the 
oldest religious rites of which we have any written 
records were Sabsean or Helio-Arkite. The sun, 
moon and stars, however, to the true original 
epopts were merely the outward manifestations 
and symbol^ of the inward powers of the Eternal 
Life. But such abstract truths could not be ren- 
dered intelligible to the vulgar mind of the increas- 
ing multitudes, necessarily more occupied with the 
satisfaction of material wants ; and hence arose the 
personification of the heavenly bodies and terrestrial 
seasons depending on them. Gradually, what in the 

Introduction. 1 9 

first instance had been a mere human figure of a 
symbol came to be looked upon as the representa- 
tion of an individual being that had actually lived 
on earth. Thus the sun to the primitive men was 
the outward manifestation of the Eternal, all-sus- 
taining, all-saving Life ; in different countries and 
ages this power was personified under the names of 
Chrisna, Fo, Osiris, Hermes, Hercules, and so on; 
and eventually these latter were supposed to have 
been men that really existed, and had been deified 
on account of the benefits they had conferred on 
mankind. The tombs of these supposed gods were 
shown, such as the Great Pyramid, said to be the 
tomb of Osiris ; feasts were celebrated, the object 
of which seemed to be to renew every year the 
grief occasioned by their loss. . The passing of the 
sun through the signs of the Zodiac gave rise to 
the myths of the incantations of Vishnu, the labours 
of Hercules, &c., his apparent loss of power during 
the winter season, and the restoration thereof at 
the winter solstice, to the story of the death, 
descent into hell, and resurrection of Osiris, and of 
Mithras. In fact, what was pure nature-wisdom 
in one age became mythology in the next, and 
romance in the third, taking its characteristics 
from the country where it prevailed. The number 
seven being found everywhere, and the knowledge 
that its prevalence was the necessary consequence 
of the seven properties of nature being lost, it was 

20 Secret Societies. 

supposed to have reference only to the seven 
planets then known. 

15. Original Spirit of the Mysteries and Besults of 
their Decay. — In the mysteries all was astronomical, 
but a deeper meaning lay hid under the astro- 
mical symbols. While bewailing the loss of the 
sun the epopts were in reality mourning the loss of 
that light whose influence is life ; whilst the working 
of the elements according to the laws of elective 
affinity produces only phenomena of decay and 
death. The initiated strove to pass from under 
the dominion of the bond-woman Night into the 
glorious liberty of the free-woman -Sophia ; to be 
mentally absorbed into the Deity, i. e. into the 
Light. The dogmas of ancient nature- wisdom were 
set before the pupil, but their understanding 
had to arise as inspiration in his soul. It was not 
the dead body of science that was surrendered to 
the epopt, leaving it to chance whether it quickened 
or not, but the living spirit itself was infused into 
him. But for this reason, because more had to be 
apprehended from within by iuspiration than from 
without by oral instruction, the Mysteries gradually 
decayed ; the ideal yielded to the realistic, and the 
merely physical elements- — Sabseism and Arkism-*- 
beoame their leading features. The frequent 
emblems and mementos in the sanctuary of death 
and resurrection, pointing to the mystery that the 
moments of highest psychical enjoyment are the 

Introduction. 21 

most destructiye to bodily existence — i. e. that the 
most intense delight is a glimpse of paradise — these 
emblems and mementos eventually were applied 
to outward nature only^ and their misapprehension 
led to all the creeds or superstitions that have 
filled the earth with crime and woe, sanguinary 
warSj internecine cruelty, and_ persecution of every 
kind. Blood-thirsty fanatics, disputing about words- 
whose meaning they did not understand, maintain- 
ing antagonistic dogmas, false on both sides, have 
invented the most fiendish tortures to compel their 
opponents to adopt their own views. While the two 
Mahommedan sects of Omar and Ali wiU fight each 
other to decide whether ablution ought to commence 
at the wrist or the elbow, they wiU unite to slay or 
to convert the Christians. Nay, even these latter, 
divided into sects without number, have distin- 
guished themselves by persecutions as cruel as any 
ever practised by so-caUed pagan nations. Not 
satisfied with attempting to exterminate by fire and 
sword Turks and Jews, one Christian sect esta- 
blished such a tribunal as the Inquisition; whilst 
its opponents, scarcely less cruel, when they had 
the power, deprived the Roman Catholics of their 
civil rights, and occasionally executed them. Their 
mutual hatred even attends them in their mis- 
sionary efibrts — very poor in their results, in 
spite of the sensational reports manufactured by 
the societies at home for extracting money from the 

22 Secret Societies. 

public. To mention but one instance : a leading 
missionary endeavoured to prejudice the Polyne- 
sians in advance against some expected Roman 
Catholic missionaries by translating Foxe's " Book 
of Martyrs " into their language, and illustrating its 
scenes by the aid of a magic-lantern. 

16. The Mysteries under their Astronomical Aspect. 
— But seeing that the mysteries, as they have come 
down to us, and are still perpetuated, in a corrupted 
and aimless manner, in Freemasonry, have chiefly 
an astronomical bearing, a few general remarks on 
the leading principles of all wiU save a deal of 
needless repetition in describing them separately. 

In the most ancient Indian creed we have the story 
of the fall of mankind by tasting of the fruit of the tree 
of knowledge and their consequent expulsion from 
Paradise. And, read in its mysterious aiid astrono- 
mical aspect, the narrative of the Fall, as given in 
the Book of Genesis, would assume some such form 
as the following. Adam, which does not mean an 
individual, but the universal man, mankind, and his 
companion Eve, which means life, having passed 
spring and summer in the Garden of Eden, neces- 
sarily reached the season when the serpent, Typhon 
(47) , the symbol of winter, points out on the celestial 
sphere that the reign of Evil, of winter, is approach- 
ing. Allegorical science, which insinuated itself 
everywhere, caused malum, "evil," also to mean an 
"apple," the produce of autumn, which indicates that 

Introduction. 23 

the harvest is over, and that man in the sweat of his 
brow must again till the earth. The cold season 
comeSj and he must cover himself with the allegorical 
fig-leaf. The sphere revolves, the man of the constel- 
lation Bootesj the same as Adam, preceded by the 
woman, the Virgin, carrying in her hand the autumnal 
branch laden with fruit, seems to be allured or be- 
guiled by her. A sacred bough or plant is intro- 
duced into all the mysteries. We have the Indian 
and Egyptian lotus, the fig-tree of Atys, the myrtle 
of Venus, the mistletoe of the Druids, the golden 
bough of Virgil, the rose-tree of Isis; — in the 
" Golden Ass " Apuleius is restored to his natural 
form by eating roses — the box of Palm- Sunday, and 
the acacia of freemasonry. The bough in the opera 
'' Eoberto il Diavolo " is the mystic bough of the 

17. Astronomical Aspects continued. — The Mys- 
teries funereal. — In all the mysteries we encounter 
a god, a superior being, or an extraordinary man 
suffering death to recommence a more glorious 
existence ; everywhere the remembrance of a grand 
and mournful event plunges the nations into grief 
and mourning, immediately followed by the most 
lively joy. Osiris is slain by Typhon, Uranus by 
Saturn, Sousarman by Sudra, Adonis by a wild 
boar ; Ormuzd is conquered by Ahrimanes ; Atys and 
Mithras and Hercules kill themselves ; Abel is slain 
by Cain, Balder by Loke, Bacchus by the giants ; 

24 Secret Societies. 

the Assyrians mourn the death of Thammuz, the 
Scythians and Phoenicians that of Acmon^ all nature 
that of the great Pan, the Freemasons that of Hiram, 
and BO on. The origin of this universal belief has 
already been pointed but. 

18. Uniformity of Dogmas. — The doctrine of the 
Unity and Trinity was inculcated in aU the mys- 
teries > In many religious creeds we meet with a 
kind of travesty of the Christian dogma, in which a 
virgin is seen bringing forth a saviour, and yet ever 
remaining a virgin (11). In the more outward sense, 
that virgin is the Virgo of the zodiac, and the savi- 
our brought forth is the sun (17) ; in the most inward 
sense, it is the eternal ideal, wherein the eternal 
life and intelligence, the power of electricity, and 
the virtue of the tincture, the first the snstainer, 
the latter the beautifier of apprehensible existence, 
are, as it were, corporified in the countless creatures 
that fill this universe — yea, ia the universe itself. 
And the virgin remains a virgin, and her own nature 
is not affected by it, just as the air briugs forth 
sounds, the light colours, the mind ideas, without 
any of them being intrinsically altered by the pro- 
duction. ' We certainly do not find these principles 
so fully and distinctly enunciated in the teaching of 
the ancient mystagogues, but a primitive know- 
ledge of them may be inferred from what they did 

In all the mysteries, light was represented as 

Introduction. 25 

born out of darkness. Thus reappears the Deity 
called now Maja Bhawanij now Kali, Isis, Ceres, 
Proserpina; Persephone, the Queen of Heaven, 
is the night from whose hosom issues life, into 
which the life returns, a secret reunion of life and 
death. She is, moreover, called the Rosy, and in 
the German myths the Rosy is called the restoring 
principle of life. She is not only the night, but, as 
mother of the sun, she is also the aurora, behind 
whom the stars are shining. When she symbolizes 
the earth as Ceres, she is represented with ears 
of corn. Like the sad Proserpina, she is beau- 
tiful and lustrous, but also melancholy and black. 
Thus she joins night with day, joy with sadness, the 
sun with the moon, heat with humidity, the divine 
with the human. The ancient Egyptians often repre- 
sented the Deity by a black stone, and the black 
stone Kadbah, worshipped by the Arabs, and which 
is described as having originally been whiter than 
snow, and more brilliant than the sun, embodies 
the same idea, with the additional hint that light 
was anterior to darkness. In aU the mysteries we 
meet with the cross (49) as a symbol of purification 
and salvation; the numbers three, four, and seven 
were sacred; in most of the mythologies we meet 
with two pillars ; mystic banquets were common to 
all, as also the trials by fire, water, and air ; the 
circle and triangle, single and double, everywhere 
represented the dualism or polarity of nature ; in 

26 Secret Societies. 

all the initiations^ the aspirant represented the good 
principle, the light, overcome by evil, the darkness ; 
and his task was to regain his former supremacy, to 
be born again or regenerated, by passing through 
death and hell and their terrors, that were scenically 
enacted during the neophyte's passage through 
seven caves, or ascent of seven steps. AH this, 
in its deepest meaning, represented the eternal 
struggle of light to free itself from the encum- 
brance of materiality it has put on in its pas- 
sage through the seven properties of eternal na- 
ture (11) ; and in its secondary meaning, when 
the deeper one was lost to mankind, the progress 
of the sun through the seven signs of the zodiac, 
from Aries to Libra, as shown in Eoyal Arch 
Masonry, and also in the ladder with seven 
steps of the Knight of Kadosh. In all the mys- 
teries the officers were the same, and personified 
astronomical or cosmical phenomena ; in all, the 
initiated recognized each other by signs and pass- 
words ; in all, the conditions for initiation were the 
same- — maturity of age and purity of conduct. If ero, 
on this account, did not dare, when in Greece, to 
offer himself as a candidate for initiation into the 
Bleusinian mysteries. In many, the chief hiero- 
phant was compelled to lead a retired life of per- 
petual celibacy, that he might be entirely at liberty 
to devote himself to the study and contemplation of 
celestial things. And to accomplish this abstrac- 

Introduction. 27 

tion, it was customary for tlie priests, in the earlier 
periods of their history, to mortify the flesh by the 
use of certain herbs, which were reputed to possess 
the virtue of repelling all passionate excitements; 
to guard against which they even occasionally 
adopted severer and more decided precautions. 
In all countries where mysteries existed, initia- 
tion came to be looked upon as much a necessity 
as afterwards baptism among Christians ; which 
ceremony, indeed, is one that had been practised in 
all the mysteries. The initiated were called epopts, 
i. e. those that see things as they are ; whilst 
before they were called " mystes," meaning quite 
the contrary. In all we find greater and less mys- 
teries, an exoteric and an esoteric doctrine, and 
three degrees. To betray the mysteries was every- 
where considered infamous, and the heaviest penal- 
ties were attached to it; hence also, in all initia- 
tions, the candidate had to take the most terrible 
oaths that he would keep the secrets entrusted to 
him. Alcibiades was banished and consigned to the 
Furies for having revealed the mysteries of Ceres ; 
Prometheus, Tantalus, OEdipus, Orpheus, suffered 
various punishments for the same reason. 

19. Secret Societies no longer needed. — Thanks to 
secret societies themselves, they are now no longer 
needed, at least not in the realms of thought. In 
politics, however, circumstances will arise in every 
age to caU them into existence ; and though they 

28 Secret Societies. 

seldom attain their direct object^ yet are they not 
without influence on the relations between ruler and 
ruled, advantageously for the latter in the long run, 
though not immediately. But thought, religious, 
philosophical and political, is free — if not as yet in 
every country^ it is so certainly in the lands inhabited 
by the Saxon races. And though the bigot and the 
fool would crush it, the former because it under- 
mines his absolutism, and the latter because it in- 
terferes with his ease, yet shall it only grow stronger 
by the opposition. Science becomes the strong bul- 
wark against the invasion of dogmatic absuacdities ; 
and there is growing up a scientific church, wherein 
knowledge, and not humility, labour, and not pen- 
ance and fasting, are considered essentials. Various 
phenomena in modern life are proofs of this. But 
if man during ages of intellectual gloom annihilated 
himself in behalf of the great deified All, he wUl 
not, in better times, deny God what he owes Him ; 
in his homage to God he studies and respects him- 
self, destroys the fetishes, and combats for truth, 
which is the word of God. He could not deny the 
divine without denying himself. 

In ancient times the mind rose from religion to 
philosophy ; in our times, by a violent re-action, it 
will ascend from philosophy to religion. And the 
men whose religion is so arrived at, whose universal 
sympathy has cast out fear — such men are the true 
regenerators of mankind, and need neither secret 

Introduction. 29 

signs nor pasa-words to recognize each other; in 
fact they are opposed to all such devices, because they 
know that liberty consists in publicity. Wherever 
liberty rules, secresy is no longer necessary to effect 
any good and useful work ; once it needed secret so- 
cieties in order to triumph, now it wants open union 
to maintain itself. Not that the time is come when 
every truth may be uttered without fear of calumny 
and cavil and opposition, especially in religious 
matters; far from it, as some recent notable in- 
stances have shown. The words of Faust still have 
their application : — 

" Who dare call tKe child by its right name ? 
The few that knew something of it, 
And foolishly opened their hearts, 
Bevealing to the vulgat crowd their views, 
Were ever crucified or burnt." 

Certes, bodily crucifying or burning are out of the 
question now, but statecraft, and especially priest- 
craft, stiU have a few thumbscrews and red-hot irons 
to hold a man's hands or sear his reputation ; where- 
fore, though I doubt the policy, and in most cases 
the success, of secret association, yet I cannot with- 
hold my tribute of admiration for those who have 
acted or do act up to the words of the poet Lowell : 

" They are slaves who dare not speak 
Por the fallen and the weak ; 
They are slaves who will not choose 
Hatred, scoflBng, and abuse, 


Secret Societies. 

Rather than in silence shrink 
From the truth they needs must think ; 
They are the slaves who dare not be 
In the right with two or three." 



Of man's original relation to nature, whence we start, in 
order to render the essentials of physical science and na- 
ture comprehensible in their inmost depth, we find but ob- 
scure hints. In the mysteries and the holy initiations of 
those nations that as yet were nearest to the primeval people, 
the mind apprehends a few scarcely intelligible sounds, 
which, arising deep from the nature of our being, move it 
mightily. How our hearts are wning by the mournful 
sounds of the first human race and of nature ; how they 
are stirred by an exalted nature- worship, and penetrated by 
the breath of an eternal inspiration ! We shall hear that 
suppressed sound from the temple of Isis, from the speaking 
pillars of Ihot, in the hymns of the Egyptian priests. On 
the lonely coast under the black rocks of Iceland the Edda 
will convey to us a sound from the graves, and fancy shall 
bring us face to face with those priests who by a stern silence 
have concealed from future ages the holy science of their 
worship. Tea, the eye shall yet discover the lost features 
of the noble past in the altars of Mexico, and on the pyra- 
mid which saw the blood and tears of thousands of human 


V. Schubert. 



Syde. De Beligione Veterum Persarum. Oxford, 1700. 
Anq'ueUl. Zend-Avesta; ouvrage de Zoroastre traduit. 

Paris, 1771. 
J. G. Rhode. Die heilige Sage. Frankfort on the Maine, 

Wullers. Fragmente iiber die Religion Zoroasters. Bonn, 

Oattaneo, 0. Le Origini Italiche illustrate coi libri sacri 

deir antica Persia. 
Be Hammer. Mem. sur le Culte de Mithra. Paris, 1833. 
Mailer. Mithras. Wiesbaden,^ 1833. 
Bichhorn. De Deo Sole Invicto Mithra. 
Payne KrdgM. Inquiry into the Symbol Language. 
Ch. Lassen. Gymnosophista. Bonn, 1832. 
Windisahmann. De Theologumenis Vedantioorum. Bonn, 

Golehrooke. Essay on the Philosophy of India. 1853. 
Jones. Extracts from the Vedas. 
lamhlichus. Tie Mysteriis ^gypt. 
Saint-Viator. Mysteries of Antiquity. Ispahan, 1788. 
Greuzer. Symbolik. Leipsic. 
Fritcha/rd. Analysis of Egyptian Mythology. 
S/itter. History of Ancient Philosophy. 
Stuhr. Beligions-Systeme der Hell'enen. 
Taylor. Dissertation on Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries. 

London, 1770. 
Schelling. TJeber die Gotter von Samothraoe. 
Diogenes Laertius. 
BoUn. Eecherohes sur les Initiations Anoiennes et 

Modemes. Paris, 1779. 
Owwarof. Essais sur les Mysteres ,d'Bleusis. Paris, 1816. 


34 Secret Societies. 

Mareoms et Movltet. L'Hierophante. Paris, 1839. 

Bm-tli. Ueber die Drnidea. Brlau, 1826. 

Friclcim. Oommentatio de Dniidis. Ulm, 1744. 

Foroito. Prose Letterarie, vol. ii. 

Higgins. Celtic Druids. London, 1829. 

Lewis. Antiquities of the Hebrew Eepublic. London, 

Jennings. Jewish Antiquities. London, 1766. 
Meyer. Der Tempel Solomons. Berlin, 1830. 
Fellows. The Mysteries of Freemasonry. London, 1860. 
Oliver. Theocratic Philosophy. London, 1840. 
Oliver. History of Initiation. London, 1829. 
Mackey. Lexicon of Freemasonry, 1867. 
Bredow. Handbuch der alten Geschichte. Altona, 1837. 
Schubert. Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft. Leipzig, 

Lesley. Man's Origin. Philadelphia, 1868. 
Faher. Mysteries of the Cabin. Oxford, 1803. 
Faber. Horse Mosaics. Oxford, 1801. 
Brassew. Collection de Documents, &o. Paris, 1861. 
Volney. Euins of Empires. 
Bagon. Cours Philosophique des Initiations Anciennes et 

Modernes. Paris, 1841. 
Fabre cT Olivet. La Langue Hebrai'que Eestituee. Paris, 

Tylor. Primitive Culture. London, 1871. 


\EBIVATION of the term Magus.— 
Magus is derived from Maja, the mirror 
(11) wherein Brahm, according to In- 
dian mythology, from all eternity be- 
holds himself and all his power and wonders. Hence 
also our terms magia, magic, image, imagination, all 
implying the fixing in a form, figure or creature — 
these words being synonymous — of the potencies 
of the primeval, structureless, living matter. The 
Magus therefore is one that makes the operations of 
the Eternal Life his study. 

21. Antiquity of the Magi. — The Magi, as the 
ancient priests of Persia were called, did not con- 
.stitute a doctrine or religion only ; they constituted 
a monarchy — their power truly was that of kings. 
And this fact is still commemorated by the circum- 

36 Secret Societies. 

stance that the Magi recorded to have been led by 
the star to the cradle of Jesus are just as 'fre- 
quently called kings as Magi. As sages, they 
were kings in the sense of Horace : 

" Ad summam, sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives. 
Liber, honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum." 

Their pontifical reign preceded the ascendancy of 
Assyria, Media, and Persia. Aristotle asserts it to 
have been more ancierit than the foundation of the 
kingdom of Egypt ; Plato, unable to reckon it by 
years, computes it by myriads. At the present day 
most writers agree in dating the rise of the reign of 
the Magi five thousand years before the Trojan war. 

22. Zoroaster. — The founder of the order was 
Zoroaster, who was not, aa some will have it, a 
contemporary of Darius, but lived nearly seventy 
centuries before our era. Nor was his home in 
India, but in Bactriana, which lies more to the 
east, beyond the Caspian Sea, close to the moun- 
tains of India, along the great rivers Oxus and 
laxartes ; so that the Brahmins, or priests of India, 
may be .called the descendants of the Magi. 

23. Doctrine of Zoroaster. — His doctrine was the 
most perfect and rational of all those that in ancient 
times were the objects of initiation, and has more or 
less survived in all successive theosophies. Traces 
of it may be found in the ancient Zendavesta — not 
the book now passing by that name, which is merely 

Ancient Mysteries. 37 

a kind of breviary — whicli entered into all the de- 
tails of nature. 

This doctrine is not the creed of the two opposite, 
but equally powerful principles, as has been asserted ; 
for Ahrimanes, the principle of evil, is not equal 
with Oromazes, which is good. Evil is not uncreated 
and eternal ; it is rather transitory and limited in 
power. And Plutarch records an opinion, which anon 
we shall see confirmed, that Ahrimanes and his angels 
shall be annihilated — that dualism is not eternal; 
its life is ia time, of which it constitutes the 
grand drama, and in which it is the perennial 
cause of motion and transformation. This is true 
philosophy, and fully in accordance with the funda- 
mental principles of nature (11) . 

The Supreme Being, or Eternal Life, is elsewhere 
called Time without limits, for no origin can be 
assigned to him ; enshrined in his glory, and pos- 
sessing properties and attributes inapprehensible by 
our understanding, to him belongs silent adoration. 

Creation had a beginning by means of emana- 
tion. The first emanation from the Eternal was the 
light, whence issued the King of Light, Oromazes. 
By means of speech Oromazes created the pure 
world, of which he is the preserver and judge. 
Oromazes is a holy and celestial being, intelligence 
and knowledge. 

Oromazes, the first-born of Time without limits, 
began by creating after his image and likeness. 

38 Secret Societies. 

six genii, called amshaspands, tliat surround his 
throne, and are his messengers to the inferior spirits 
and to men, being also to the latter types of purity 
and perfection. 

The second series of creations by Oromazes was 
that of the twenty-eight izads, that watch over the 
happiness, innocence and preservation of the world ; 
models of virtue, iaterpreters of the prayers of men. 

The third host of pure spirits is more numerous, 
and forms that of the far oJiars, the thoughts of Oro- 
mazes, or the ideas conceived by him before pro- 
ceeding to the creation of things. Not only the faro- 
hars of holy men and innocent infants stand before 
Oromazes, but this latter himself has his farohar, 
the personification of his wisdom and beneficent idea, 
his reason, his logos. These spirits hover over the 
head of every man ; and this idea passed over to the 
Greeks and Romans, and we meet with it again in 
the familiar spirit of Socrates, the evil genius of 
Brutus, and the genius comes of Horace. 

The threefold creation of good spirits was the 
necessary consequence of the contemporaneous de- 
velopment qf the principle of evil. The second- 
born of the Eternal, Ahrimanes, emanated like 
Oromazes from the primitive light, and was pure 
like it, but being ambitious and haughty, he 
became jealous. To punish him, the Supreme 
Being condemned him to dwell for twelve thousand 
years in the region of darkness, a time which was 

Ancient Mysteries. 39 

to be sufficient to end tlie strife between good and 
evil; but Ahrimanes created countless evU genii, 
tliat filled the earth with misery, disease and guilt. 
The evil spirits are impurity, violence, covetous- 
nesSj cruelty ; the demons of cold, hunger, poverty, 
leanness, sterility, ignorance ; and the most per- 
verse of all, Feetash, the demon of calur&ny.^ 

Oromazes, after a reign of three thousand years, 
created the material world in six periods, in the 
same order as they are found in Genesis, succes- 
sively calling into existence the terrestrial light 
(not to be confounded with the celestial) , the water, 
the earth, plants, animals and man.* Ahrimanes 
assisted in the formation of earth and water, be- 
cause the darkness had already invaded those 
elements, and Oromazes could not conceal them. 
Ahrimanes also toot part in the creation and sub- 
sequent corruption and destruction of man, whom 
Oromazes had produced by an act of his wiU and 
by the Word. Out of the seed of that being 
Oromazes afterwards drew the first human pair, 
Meshia and Meshiane ; but, Ahrimanes first seduced 
the woman and then the man, leading them into 
evil chiefly by the eating of certain fruits. And 

^ All these traditions show already a very great de- 
parture from, and decay of, the original knowledge pos- 
sessed by the primitive men. See " Introduction." 

^ Or rather a being compounded of a man and a bull. 

40 Secret Societies. 

not only did lie alter tlie nature of man, but also 
tliat of animals, opposing insects, serpents, wolves, 
and all kinds of vermin to the good animals, thus 
spreading corruption over the face of the earth. 
But Ahrimanes and his evil spirits are eventually 
to be overcome and cast out from every place ; and 
in the stern combat just and industrious men have 
nothing to fear ; for according to Zoroaster, labour 
is the exterminator of evil, and that man best obeys 
the righteous judge of all who assiduously tills the 
earth and causes it to bring forth harvests and 
fruit-bearing trees. At the end of twelve thousand 
years, when the earth shall cease to be afflicted by 
the evils brought upon it by the spirits of darkness, 
three prophets shall appear and assist man with 
their power and knowledge, restoring the earth to 
its pristine beauty, judging the good and the evil, 
and conducting the first into a region of ineffable 
bliss. Ahrimanes, and the captive demons and 
men, shall be purified in a sea of liquid metal, and 
the law of Oromazes shaU rule everywhere. 

It is scarcely necessary to point out to the 
reader the astronomical bearing of the theogony of 
Zoroaster. The six good genii represent the six 
summer months, while the evil genii stand for the 
winter months. The twenty-eight izads are the 
days of a lunar month. But theosophicaUy, the six 
periods during which the imiverse was created 
refer to the six working properties of nature. 

Ancient Mysteries. 41 

24. The Light worshipped. — We Bave seen that 
Zoroaster taught light to be the first emanation of 
the Eternal Life ; hence in the Parsee writings, 
lightj the perennial flame, is the symbol of the 
Deity or uncreated Life. Hence the Magi and 
Parsees have been called fire-worshippers. But the 
former saw and the latter see in the fire not a 
divinity, but simply the cause of heat and motion, 
thus anticipating the most recent discoveries of 
physical science, or rather, remembering some of 
the lost knowledge. The Parsees did not form 
any God, to cd,ll him the one true God ; they did 
not iavoke any authority extrinsic to life ; they 
did not rely on any uncertain tradition ; but amidst 
all the recondite forces of nature, they chose the 
one' that governs them all, that reveals itself by the 
most tremendous effects. 

25. Origin of the word Deus, God. — In this sense 
the Magi, as well' as the Chinese, had no theology, 
or they had one that is distinguished from aU. 
others. Those Magi that gave their name to occult 
science (magic) performed no sorcery and believed 
ia no miracles. In the bosom of Asiatic immo- 
bility they did hot condemn motion, but rather 

-considered it as the glorious symbol of the Eternal 
Cause. Other castes aimed at impoverishing the 
people and subjecting it to the yoke of ignorance 
and superstition; but thanks to the Magi, the 
Indian. Olympus, peopled with monstrous creatures. 

42 Secret Societies. 

gave place to tlie conception of the unity of Godj 
which always indicates progress in the history of 
thought. The text of the most ancient Zend 
literature acknowledges but one creative ens of all 
things, and his name, Dao, signifies "light" and 
" wisdom/' and is explained by the root daer, " to 
shine/' whence are derived aU such words as deus, 
dies, &c. The conception of Deity indeed was pri- 
marily that of the " bright one/' whence also the 
Sanskrit dydus, "sky/' which led to so many mytho- 
logical fables. But the original idea was founded 
on a correct perception of the origin and nature of 
things, for light is truly the substance of all 
things ; all matter is only a compaction of light. 
Thus the Magi founded a moral system and an 
empire; they had a literature, a science and a 
poetry. Five thousand years before the "Diad/' 
they put forth the " Zendavesta," three grand 
poems, the first ethical, the second military, and 
the third scientific. 

26. Mode of Initiation. — The candidate for initia- 
tion was prepared by numerous lustrations with fire, 
water, and honey. The number of probations he had 
to pass through was very great, and ended with a 
fast of fifty days' continuance. These trials had to 
be endured in a subterranean cave, where he was 
condemned to perpetual silence and total solitude. 
This novitiate in some instances was attended with 
fatal effects, in others the candidate became par- 

Ancient Mysteries. 43 

tially or wholly deranged; those who surmounted 
the trials were eligible to the highest honours. At 
the expiration of the novitiate, the candidate was 
brought forth into the cavern of initiation, where 
he was armed with enchanted armour by his guide, 
who was the representative of Simorgh, a monstrous 
griffin (27), and an important agent in the ma- 
chinery of Persian mythology, and furnished with 
talismans, that he might be ready to encounter all 
the hideous monsters raised up by the evil spirits 
to impede his progress. Introduced into an inner 
apartment, he was purified with fire and water, and 
put through the seven stages of initiation. First,- 
he beheld a deep and dangerous vault froni the 
precipice where he stood, into which a single false 
step might throw him down to the " throne of 
dreadful necessity," — the first three properties of 
nature. Groping his way through the mazes of the 
gloomy cavern, he soon beheld the sacred fire at 
intervals flash through its recesses and illuminate 
his path; he also heard the distant yelling of ra- 
venous beasts — the roaring of lions, the howling of 
wolves, the fierce and threatening bark of dogs. 
But his attendant, who maintained a profound 
silence, hurried him forward towards the quarter 
whence these sounds proceeded, and at the sudden 
opening of a door he found himself in a den of wild 
beasts, dimly lighted with a single lamp. He was 
immediately attacked by the initiated in the forms 

44 Secret Societies. 

of lions, tigers, wolves, griffins, and other monstrous 
beasts, from whom he seldom escaped unhurt. 
Thence he passed into another cavern, shrouded in 
darkness, where he heard the terrific roaring of 
thunder and saw vivid and continuous flashes of 
lightning, which in streaming sheets of fire rendered 
visible the flitting shades of avenging genii, re- 
sentiQg his intrusion into their chosen abodes. 
To restore the candidate a little, he was next con- 
ducted into another apartment, where his excited 
feelings were soothed with melodious music and the 
flavour of grateful perfumes'. On his expressing his 
readiness to proceed through the remaining ceremo- 
nies, a signal was given by his conductor, and three 
priests immediately made their appearance, one of 
whom cast a living serpent into his bosom as a token 
of regeneration (57); and, a private door having been 
opened, there issued forth such howlings and cries 
of lamentation and dismay, as struck him with 
new and indescribable emotions of terror. On 
turning his eyes to the place whence these noises 
proceeded, he beheld exhibited in every appalling 
form the torments of the wicked in Hades. Thus 
he was passed through the devious labyrinth con- 
sisting of seven spacious vaults, connected by wind- 
ing galleries, each opening with a narrow stone por- 
tal, the scene of some perilous adventure, until he 
reached the Sacellum, or Holy of Holies, which 
was brilliantly illuminated, and which sparkled 

Ancient Mysteries. 45 

witli gold and precious stones. A splendid sun 
and starry system moved in accordance with deli- 
cious music. The archimagus sat in the east on 
a throne of burnished gold^ crowned with a rich 
diadem decorated with myrtle-boughs^ and habited 
in a tunic of bright cerulean hue ; round him were 
assembled the preesules and dispensers of the mys- 
teries. By these the novice was received with con- 
gratulationSj and after having entered into the usual 
engagements for keeping secret the rites of Zoro- 
aster^ the sacred words were entrusted to him, of 
which the Tetractys, or name of God^ was the chief. 
The Tetractys of Pythagoras is analogous to the 
Jewish TetragrammatoUj or name of the Deity in 
four letters. The number four was considered the 
' most perfect, because in the first four properties 
of nature (11) are comprised and implied all the 
rest ; wherefore also the first four numbers summed 
up make up the decad, after which all is only repe- 

27. Myth of Rustam. — This progress was deno- 
minated ascending the ladder of perfection, and 
from it has arisen the tale of Rustam, the Persian 
Hercules, who, mounted on the monster Eakshi, 
which is the Arabic name of Simorgh, undertakes 
the conquest of Mazendaraun, celebrated as a per- 
fect earthly paradise. Having amidst many dangers 
fought his way along a road of seven stages, he 
reaches the cavern of the White Giant, who smites 

46 Secret Societies. 

all that assail Mm witli blindness. But Eustam 
overcomes hinij and ■with three drops of the giant's 
blood restores sight to all his captives. The sym- 
bolical three drops of blood had their counterparts 
in all the mysteries of the ancient world. In Britain 
the emblem was three drops of water ; in Mexico, 
as in this legend, three drops of blood ; in India, a 
belt composed of three triple threads ; in China, the 
three strokes of the letter T, &c. The blindness 
with which those who seek the giant are smitten, 
of course refers to the emblematic mental blindness 
of the aspirant to initiation. 



[TSTUBIES of Mithras.— JJ-pou the 
trunk of a religion so spiritual and 
hostile to idolatry^ which undertook 
iconoclastic expeditions into Babylonia, 
Assyria, Syria, and Lybia, which vindicated the pure 
worship of God, destroying by means of the sword 
of Cambyaes the Egyptian priesthood, which over- 
threw the temples and idols of Greece, which gave 
to the Israelites the Pharisees, which appears so 
simple and pure as to have bestowed on the Parsees 
the appellation of the Puritans of antiquity, and on 
Cyrus that of the Anointed of the Lord — on this 
trunk there were afterwards ingrafted idolatrous 
branches, as perhaps the Brahminic, and certainly 
the Mithraic worship, the origin of which latter 
Dupuis places at 4,500 years before Christ. 

48 Secret Societies. 

29. Origin of Mithraic Worship. — Mithras is a 
beneficent genius presiding over the sun, the most 
powerful izad, invoked together with the sim, and 
not at first confounded with it ; the chief mediator 
and intercessor between Oromazes and man. But 
in course of time the conception of this Mithras be- 
came perverted, and he usurped the attributes of 
divinity. Such usurpation of the rank of the supe- 
rior Deity on the part of the inferior is of frequent 
occurrence in mythology ; it suffices to refer to 
Siva and Vishnu in India, Serapis in Egypt, Ju- 
piter in Greece. The perversion was rendered easy 
by confounding the symbol with the thing sym- 
bolized, the genius of the sun with the sun itself, 
which alone remained in the language, since the 
modern Persian name of the sun (mihr) represents 
the regular modification of the Zend Mithras. 

The Persian Mithras must not be confounded with 
that of India, for it is undoubted that another 
Mithras, different from the Zendic, from the most 
ancient times was the object of a special mysterious 
worship, and that the initiated knew him as the sun. 
Taking the letters of the Greek word " Meithras " 
at their numerical value, we obtain the number 365, 
the days of the year. The same holds good of 
" Abraxas," the name which Basilides gave to the 
Deity, and further of "Belenos," the name given 
to the sun in Gaul. 

30. Dogmas, Sj-c. — On the Mithraic monuments 

Ancient Mysteries. 49 

we find representations of the globe of the sun, the 
club and bull, symbols of the highest truth, the 
highest creative activity, the highest vital power. 
Such a trinity agrees with that of Plato, which 
consists of the Supreme Good, the "Word, and the 
Soul of the World ; with that of Hermes Trisme- 
gistus, consisting of Light, Intelligence, and Soul ; 
with that of Porphyry, which consists of Father, 
Word, and Supreme Soul. 

According to Herodotus, Mithras became the 
Mylitta of Babylon, the Assyrian Venus, to whom 
was paid an obscene worship as to the female prin- 
ciple of creation, the goddess of fecundity, of life ; 
one perhaps with Anaitis, the Armenian goddess. 

The worship of the Persian Mithras, or Apollo, 
spread over Italy,' Gaul, Germany, Britain ; and ex- 
piring polytheism opposed to the sun Christ, the 
sun Mithras. 

31. Rites of Initiation. — The sanctuaries of this 
worship were always subterranean, and in each 
sanctuary was placed a ladder with seven steps, 
by which one ascended to the mansions of felicity. 

1 Underneath the church of St. Clement, at Rome, a 
singularly well-preserved temple of Mithras was discovered 
some years ago. When the monk who had, on my visit to 
Eome, shown me the church above, said that he would now 
take me down to the pagan temple of Mithras, I could not 
help saying to myself, " If you but knew it, Mithras is 
above as well as below !" 

50 Secret Societies. 

The initiations into this degree were similar to 
those detailed in the foregoing section, but, if pos- 
sible, more severe than into any other, and few 
passed through all the tests. The festival of the 
god was held towards the middle of the month of 
Mihr (October) , and the probationer had to undergo 
long and severe trials before he was admitted to 
the full knowledge of the mysteries. 

The first degree was inaugurated with purifying 
lustrations, and a sign was set on the neophyte's 
brow, whilst he offered to the god a loaf and a cup 
of water. A crown was presented to him on the 
point of a sword, and he put it on his head saying, 
" Mithras is my crown.'' 

In the second degree the aspirant put bn armour 
to meet giants and monsters, and a Avild chase took 
place in the subterranean caves. The priests and 
officers of the temple, disguised as Hons, tigers, 
leopards, bears, wolves, and other wild beasts, 
attacked the candidate with fierce howHngs. In 
these sham fights the aspirant ran great personal 
danger, though sometimes the priests caught a 
Tartar. Thus we are told that the Emperor Com- 
modus on his initiation carried the joke too far, 
and slew one of the priests who had assailed him 
in the form of a wild beast. 

In the next degree be put on a mantle on which 
were painted the signs of the zodiac. A curtain 
then concealed him from the sight of aU ; but this 
being withdrawn, he appeared surrounded by 

Ancient Mysteries. 51 

frightful griffins. After passing through other 
trials, if his courage did not fail him, he was hailed 
as a " Lion of Mithras," in allusion to the zodiacal 
sign in which the sun attained his greatest power. 
We meet with the same idea in the degree of 
Master Mason. The grand secret was- then im- 
parted. What was it ? At this distance of time it 
is difficult to decide, but we may assume that the 
priests communicated to him the most authentic 
sacerdotal traditions, the best accredited theories 
concerning the origin of the universe,_and the attri- 
butes, perfections, and works of Oromazes. In 
fact, the Mithraic mysteries represent the progress 
of darkness to light. According to Guignault, 
Mithras is love ; with regard to the Eternal, he is 
the son of mercy ; with regard to Oromazes and 
AhrimaneSj the fire of love. 

32. Rites derived from Magism. — This was not 
the sole heresy, the only secret society that issued 
from the womb of Magism ; and its rites gradually 
became so corrupt as to serve as a cloak for the 
most licentious practices, which were at length 
sanctioned and even encouraged in the mysteries. 
Further, it became an axiom in religion that the 
offspring of a son and a mother was the best calcu- 
lated for the office of a priest. Traces of Magism 
are also found in the speculations of Manes, the 
Eeligion of Love, and the secret history of the 



; ULOAB Creed of India.— The Indian re- 
ligion^ whetlier we look on it as an adul- 
teration of Magisnij or as the common 
trunk of all Asiatic theosophyj offers so 
boundless a wealth of deities^ that no other in this 
respect can approach it. This wealth is an iufal- 
Kble sign of the mental poverty and grossness of 
the people, who, ignorant of the laws of nature, 
and terrified at its phenomena, acknowledged as 
many supernatural beings as there were mysteries 
for them. The Brahmins reckon up 300,000 gods 
— a frightful host, that have kept Indian life servile 
and stagnant, perpetuated the divisions of caste, 
upheld ignorance, and weighed like an incubus on 
the breasts of their deluded dupes, and turned 
existence into a nightmare of grief and servitude. 

Ancient Mysteries. 58 

34. Secret Doctrines. — But in tlie secret sanctuary 
these vain phantoms disappear, and the initiated 
are taught to look upon them as countless accidents 
and outward manifestations of the First Cause, 
The Brahmins did not consider the people fit to 
apprehend and preserve in its purity the religion of 
the spirit, hence they veiled it in these figures, and 
also invented a language incomprehensible to the 
vulgar, but which the investigations of Oriental 
scholars have enabled us to read, and to perceive 
that the creed of India is one of the purest ever 
known to man. Thus in the second chapter of the 
first part of the "Vishnu Purana," it is written: 
" God is without form, epithet, definition, or de- 
scription ; free from defect, incapable of annihilation, 
change, grief, or pain. We can only say that he, that 
is, the Eternal Being, is God. Vulgar men think that 
God is in the water ; the more enlightened, in celes-^ 
tial bodies; the ignorant, in wood and stone ; but the 
wise, in the universal mind." The " Mahanirvana,'' 
says :-— " Numerous figures, corresponding with the 
nature of divers powers and quality, were invented 
for the benefit of those who are wanting in suffi- 
cient understanding." Again, "We have no 
notion of how the Eternal Being is to be described ; 
he is above all the mind can apprehend, above 
nature. . . . That Only One that was never defined 
by any language, and gave to language all its 
meaning, he is the Supreme Being . . and no 

54 Secret Societies. 

partial thing that man worships. . . This Being 
extends over all things. He is mere spirit without 
corporeal form ; without extension of any size, un- 
impressionable, and without any organs ; he is pure, 
perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, the ruler of the in- 
tellect ... he is the soul of the whole universe." 

35. Brahma and Buddha. — The polytheism of 
India branched off into two great sects, — ^Budd- 
hists and Brahminists, — each possessing distinctive 
characteristics. Allusions to this separation are 
found in the Legend of the Temple ; and there are 
other divisions in theological nomenclature which 
respectively refer to the traditions of those grand 
sections. The Indians, the Greeks (except Pyth- 
agoras, who was to some extent a Buddiist) , and 
the Britons, were Brahminists ; whilst the Chiaese, 
Japanese, Persians, and Saxons, were Buddhists. 
The Buddhists were Magians, the Brahminists 
Sabseans. The famous Buddhist doctrine of Nir- 
VElna or Nihilism — so totally misapprehended, as 
long as it was supposed to mean total annihilation — 
is profoundly theosophicaJ, and really means the 
perfect absorption into the Deity, though Buddha 
does not allow of a personal god or creator. By 
the Deity he means the light, the eternal liberty, 
and therefore calls Nirvana the highest stage of 
spiritual liberty and bHss. The individual soul, on 
leaving the body in which it was imprisoned, re- 
turns into the universal soul; just as the solar light. 

Ancient Mysteries. 55 

imprisoned in a piece of woodj when this is burnt, 
returns into the uniyersal ocean of light. On this 
doctrine was afterwards engrafted the false belief in 
the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls, and 
the misanthropic system of self-renunciation, which, 
in India, led to the self-torturings of fakirs and other 
fanatics ; and which finds its analogies in Christian 
communities in the asceticism of fasts, penances, 
macerations, solitude, flagellation, and all the mad 
practices of monks, anchorets, and other religious 

36. Asceticism. — This asceticism, founded on the 
above notion, viz. that the Absolute or All is the 
real existence, and that individual phenomena, espe- 
cially matter in all its forms, are really nothing, i. e. 
mere phantasms, and to be avoided, as increasing 
the distance from- the Absolute, and that absorption 
into the Deity is to be obtained, even in this life, by 
the maceration of .the body, was and even now is 
prevalent in India, where it was carried, in thou- 
sands of instances, further than mere self-torture, 
even to death. When, at the festival of the dread 
goddess Bhovani, the wife of Siva, her ponder- 
ous image was borne on a car, with cutting wheels, 
to the Ganges, a crowd of frantic beings, wreathed 
with flowers, joyous as if they went to the nuptial 
altar, would cast themselves under the wheels of 
the car, offering themselves, amidst the sounding of 
trumpets, as voluntary sacrifices, to be cut to pieces 

56 Secret Societies. 

by the wheels. And in various sects asceticism has 
led to the adoption of many strange practices. In 
the " Contes de la Keine de Navarre" there is a 
passage which at some length refers to a special 
mode adopted by monks and other men for the 
mortification of the flesh. Of such persons the 
queen says: — "lis disent qu'il faut s'liabituer a 
la chastete, et pour eprouver leurs forces Us parlent 
aux plus belles, et a celles qu'ils aiment le plus, et en 
haisaiit et touchant, Us eprouvent quits sont dans 
une entiere mortification. Quand Us sentent que ce 
plaisir les emeut. Us vivent dans la retrcdte, jeiinent 
et se discipKnent, et quand Us ont mate leur chair en 
-sorte que ni la conversation ni le haiser leur cau- 
sent point d'emotion, Us essay ent la sotte tentation de 
coucher ensemble, et de s'embrasser sans aucun desi/r 
de volupte." 

37. GymnosopMsts. — We have very few notices 
of the Gymnosophists, the Magi. of Brahminism, the 
most severe custodians of the primitive law, and 
originally most free from imposture. They spread 
over Africa ; and in Ethiopia they lived as solitaires, 
and revived on the banks of the Nile many phases 
of Asiatic theosophy. Priests-errant, they were re- 
ported to carry with them a secret doctrine, of which 
the simplicity of their lives and the purity of their 
morals might be considered as the outward manifes- 
tation; though ia after times they became one of 
the most debauched and immoral sects in India. 

Ancient Mysteries. 57 

They went almost naked (hence their name — 
yvfivoQ, naked ; ao^og, wise)^ and lived on herbs ; 
but their own austerity did not render them harsh 
towards other men, nor unjust as regarded other 
common conditions of life. They beUeved in one 
only Godj the immortality of the soul and its transr 
migratiouj and when old age or disease prostrated 
them, they ascended the funeral pile, deeming it 
ignominious to let years or evils afflict them. Alex- 
ander saw one of them close his life in this manner. 

The priestly colleges of Ethiopia and Egypt 
maintained constant relations. Osiris is an Ethi- 
opian divinity. Every year the two families of 
priests met on the boundaries of the two countries 
to offer common sacrifices to Ammon, — another 
name for Jupiter, — and celebrate the festival which 
the Greeks called heliotrapeza, or Table of the Sun. 
Amidst the predominant fetishism of Africa, pro- 
duced partly by climate and partly by the same cir- 
cumstances that gave rise to Indian fetishism, we 
cannot help admiring that colony of thinkers which 
long resisted the progress of despotism, and whose 
destruction was the revenge of intolerance and 

38. Places for celebrating Mysteries. — The mys- 
teries, as in other countries, were celebrated in 
subterranean caverns, here excavated in the solid 
rock, and surpassing in grandeur of conception and 
finish of execution anything to be seen elsewhere. 

58 Secret Societies. 

The temples of Eleptanta, Bllora, and Salsette, con- 
sisting of large halls and palaces, chapels^ pagodas, 
cells for thousands of priests and pilgrims, adorned 
with pillars and columns, obelisks, bas-reliefs, 
gigantic statues of deities, elephants and other 
sacred animals, all carved out of the living rock, are 
especially noteworthy. In the sacellum, only acces- 
sible to the initiated, the supreme Deity was repre- 
sented by the lingam, which was used more or less 
by all ancient nations to represent his creative 
power, though in India it was also typified by the 
petal and calyx of the lotus. 

39. Initiation. — The periods of initiation were 
regulated by the increase and decrease of the moon, 
and the mysteries were divided into four degrees, 
and the candidate might be initiated into the first 
at the early age of eight years. He was then 
prepared by a Brahmin, who became his spiritual 
guide for the second degree, the probationary cere- 
monies of which consisted ia incessant occupation 
in prayers, fastiugs, ablutions, and the study of as- 
tronomy. In the hot season he sat exposed to five 
fires, four blazing around him, with the sun above ; 
in the rains he stood uncovered ; in the cold season 
he wore wet clothing. To participate in the high 
priAdleges which the mysteries were believed to con- 
fer, he was sanctified by the sign of the cross, and 
subjected to the probation of the pastos, the tomb of 
the sun, the coffin of Hiram, darkness, hell, all sym- 

Ancient Mysteries. 59 

bolical of the first three properties (11) . ' Sis puri- 
fication being completed, he was led at night to the, 
cavern of initiation. This was brilliantly illuminated, 
and there sat the three chief hierophants, in the 
east, west and south, representing the gods Brahma, 
Vishnu, Siva, surrounded by attendant myst- 
agogues, dressed in appropriate vestments. The 
initiation was begun by an apostrophe to the sun, 
addressed by the name of Pooroosh, here meaning 
the vital soul, or portion of the universal spirit of 
Brahm ; and the candidate, after some further pre- 
liminary ceremonies, was made to circumambulate 
the cavern three times, and afterwards conducted 
through seven dark caverns, during which period 
the waitings of Mahadeva for the loss of Siva were 
represented by dismal bowlings. The usual para- 
phernalia of flashes of light, of dismal sounds and 
horrid phantoms were produced to terrify and 
confuse the aspirant. Having arrived at the last 
cavern, the sacred conch was blown, the folding 
doors thrown open, and the candidate was admitted 
into an apartment filled with dazzling lights, orna- 
mented with statues and emblematic figures richly 
decorated with gems, and scented with the most 
fragrant perfumes. This saceUum was inteijded to 
represent Paradise, and was actually so called in 
the temple of EUora. With eyes riveted on the 
altar, the candidate was taught to expect the 
descent of the Deity in the bright pyramidal fire 

60 Secret Societies. 

that blazed, upon it ; and in a moment of enthu- 
siasm, thus artiScially produced, the candidate 
might indeed persuade himself that he actually be- 
held Brahma seated on the lotus, with his four heads 
and arms, representing the four elements and. the four 
quarters of the globe, and bearing in his hands the 
emblems of eternity and. power, the circle and fire. 

39a. Brahm and Brahma. — The reader wiU have 
noticed in one case I say Brahm and. in the other 
Brahma; the latter is the body of the former, 
which is the Eternal Life. The terms corrrespond 
with those of Abyssal Deity and Virgin Sophia of 
Christian theosophy. 

40. The ineffable name Aum.—The candidate 
was now supposed to be regenerated, and was in- 
vested with the white robe, tiara, and the sacred 
belt ; a cross was marked on his forehead and a tan 
(49) upon his breast; the salagram or marginal 
black stone (18), to insure to him the perfection 
of Vishnu, and the serpent stone, an antidote 
against the bite of serpents, were delivered to him ; 
and lastly, he was intrusted with the sacred name, 
which signified the solar fire, and united in its 
comprehensive meaning the great Trimurti, or com- 
bined principle on which the existence of all things 
is founded. This word was OM, or in a trUiteral 
form AUM, to represent the creative, preserving, 
and destroying power of the Deity, personified in 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, the symbol of which was 

Ancient Mysteries. 61 

an equilateral triangle. To this name^ as the Royal 
Arch Masons to that of labulon, they attributed 
the most wonderful powers; and it could only be 
the subject of silent but pleasing contemplation, 
for its pronunciation was said to make earth 
and heaven tremble, and even the angels of 
heaven to quake with fear. The emblems around 
and the aporreta of the mysteries were then 
explained, and the candidate instructed that by 
means of the knowledge of OM he was to become 
one with the Deity. With the Persians the syllable 
HOM meant the tree of Hfe, a tree and a man at 
the same time, the dwelling-place of the soul of 
Zoroaster ; and with them also, as with the Indians, 
it was forbidden on pain of death to reveal it. In 
this secret name, involving the rejection of poly- 
theism, and comprising the knowledge of nature, 
we have the golden thread that unites ancient and 
modem secret societies. 

41. The Lingam. — One of the emblems found in 
the saceUum, and which in fact is found everywhere 
on the walls of Indian temples, was the lingam, 
which represented the male principle, and which 
passed from India to Egypt, Greece and Scandi- 
navia. The worship of this symbol could not but 
lead to great abuses, especially as regarded the 
gymnosophists . 

42. The Lotus. — The lotus, the lily of the Nile, 
held sacred also in Egypt, was the great vegetable 

62 Secret Societies. 

amulet of eastern nations. The Indian gods were 
always represented as seated on it. It was an 
emblem of the soul's freedom when liberated from 
its earthly tabernacle, the body ; for it takes root in 
the mud deposited at the bottom of a river, vege- 
tates from the germ to a perfect plant, and after- 
wards rising proudly above the waves, it floats iu 
air, as if independent of any extraneous aid. It is 
placed on a golden table, as the symbol of Siva, on 
the top of Mount Menu, the holy mountain of 
India, the centre of the earth, worshipped by Hiu- 
doos, Tartars, Montchurians and Mongols. It is 
supposed to be in Northern India, to have three 
peaks, composed of gold, silver and iron, on which 
reposes the trine deity Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. 
Geographically this mountain is evidently the table- 
land of Tartary, whose southern boundary is formed 
by the Himalayas. This custom of accounting a 
three-peaked mountain holy was not confined to 
India alone, but prevailed also among the Jews. 
Thus Olivet, near Jerusalem, had three peaks, which 
were accounted the residence of the Deity — Che- 
mosh, Milcom, Ashtoreth (2 Kings xxiii. 13). In 
Zechariah (xiv. 4) the feet of the Almighty are 
placed on the two outer peaks of this mountain 
during the threatened destruction of Jerusalem ; 
while the mountain itself is made to split asunder 
at the centre peak from east to west, leaving a great 
valley between the divided parts. 



'NTIQUITY of Egyptian Oivilization. — 
AH Egypt is an initiation. A long and 
narrow strip of landj watered by im- 
mense floods and surromided by immense 
solitudes — such is Egypt. Very high and steep 
rocks protected it from the incursions of the nomadic 
tribeSj and thus a valley, a river, and a race sufficed 
to create, if not the most ancient, at least one of the 
most ancient and illustrious cultures, a world of 
marvels, at a time when Europeans went naked, 
and dyed their skins, as Caesar found the ancient 
Britons, and when the Greeks, armed with bows 
and arrows, led a nomadic existence. The Egyp- 
tians, many thousand years before the Trojan war, 
had invented writing, as is proved, for instance, by 
the hieratic papyrus of the time of Eameses II., full 
of recipes and directions for the treatment of a great 

64 Secret Societies. 

variety of diseases, and now in the Berlin Museum. 
They also knew many comforts of life, which our 
pride calls modern ; and the Greek writers, whom 
the Egyptian priests called children, are full of 
recollections of that mysterious land, recording the 
father Nile, Thebes with its hundred gates, the 
Pyramids, Lake Meroe, the Labyrinth, the Sphinx, 
and the statue of Memnon saluting the rising sun. 

44. Temples of Ancient Egypt. — Egyptian chron- 
ology, the reproof and paragon of aU others, is 
graven on imperishable monuments. But those 
obelisks, sacred to the sun, by their conical form 
like that of the flame ; those labyrinths, those human- 
headed birds, typifying the intelligent soul; those 
scarabei, signifying creative power ; those sphinxes, 
representing force, the Hon or sun, and man ; those 
serpents expressing Hfe and eternity (57) ; those 
strange combinations of forms ; those hieroglyphics 
— they long remained secrets for us, and perhaps 
always were a secret for the Egyptian people that 
in fear and silence erected the pyramids — aU these 
symbols constituted the language of one of the 
vastest and most elaborate secret societies that 
ever existed. Penetrating into those gigantic 
temples which seem the work of an extinct race, 
different from ours, as fossil quadrupeds are dif- 
ferent from those now living; traversing those 
cloisters, which after many windings lead to the 
innermost sanctuary, we are seized by a singular 

Ancient Mysteries. 65 

thought — that of the silence and solitude which 
ever reigned within those edifices into which the 
people were not allowed to penetrate ; only the few 
were admitted, and we moderns are the first pro- 
fane that have set foot within the hallowed pre- 
cincts. LThe temple of Luxor is the vastest on 
earth — six propylsea with long files of columns, and 
colossi and obelisks and sphinxes ; six cloisters — 
every new generation of kings for seventy centuries 
added some new portion and inscribed on the walls 
the history of its deeds, and every new addition 
removed the faithful further from the seat of the 
god; the marvel and mystery increased. /The sixth 
propylseum is not finished; it is a chapter of history 
broken off in the middle, and wiU never be com- 
pleted. \The walls and pillars of the temples were 
covered with religious and astronomical representa- 
tions, and from the fact of many of these pictures 
showing human beings in various states of suf- 
fSring and under torture, it has been assumed that 
the Egyptian ritual was cruel, like the Mexican (74, 
77) ; but such is not the case ;rEh§ pictures are only 
representations of the punishments said to be in- 
flicted on the wicked in another lifeuZL 

45. Egyptian Priests and JKwg's.— V-The priestly 
caste, possessing all the learning, ruled first and 
alone"! but in its own defence it armed a portion of 
the population ; the rest it kept down by supersti- 
tion, or disarmed and weakened it by corruption. 

66 Secret Societies. 

To Plato, who saw it from a distance, this govern- 
ment seemed stupendous, and he idealized it ; it was 
for him the " city of God," the pattern republic. 
Nevertheless, as was inevitable, might rebelled 
against doctrine, the soldiery broke the rein of the 
priesthood, and by the side of the pontiffs arose the 
kings, or to speak more correctly, the two series 
proceeded in parallels ; that of the priests was not 
set aside, it had its palaces, the temples, strong 
like fortresses, along the Nile, which were at the 
same time splendid' abodes, agricultural establish- 
ments, commercial depots, and caravan stations; 
its members appointed and ruled the kings them- 
selves, regulating the most minute acts of their 
daily conduct ; [they were the depositaries of the 
highest oflBces, and as the learned savans, magis- 
trates, and physicians, enjoyed the first honours!! 
Their chief colleges were at Thebes, Memphis, 
HeliopoHs, and Sa'is ; they possessed a great por- 
tion of the land, which they caused to be cultivated ; 
paid no taxes, but collected tithes. [They formed 
indeed the elect, privileged, and only jfree portion of 
the nationry 

-46. Exoteric and Esoteric Doctrines. — The priests 
were no followers of the idolatrous faith of the 
people; but to have undeceived the latter would have 
been dangerous for themselves. The true doctrine 
of the unity of God, therefore, which was their secret, 
was only imparted to those that after many trials 

Ancient Mysteries. 67 

had been initiated into the mysteries. Their doc- 
trineSj like those of all other priesthoods, were 
therefore exoteric and esoteric ; and the mysteries 
were of two kinds, the greater and the less, the 
former being the mysteries of Osiris and Serapis, 
the latter those of Isis. The mysteries of Osiris 
were celebrated at the autumnal equinox ; those of 
Serapis at the summer solstice ; and those of Isis at 
the vernal equinox. 

47. Egyptian Mythology. — Though want of gpace 
does not allow me fully to enter upon the vast sub- 
ject of Egyptian mythology, yet a few words thereon 
are necessary to render its bearing on the mysteries 
clear, and also to show its connection with many of 
the rites of modern freemasonry. 

That all the symbols and ceremonies of all the 
ancient creeds originally had a deep and universal 
cosmic meaning has already been shown (9, 10) , but 
at the time when the mysteries were most flourishing 
that meaning was to a great extent lost, and a 
merely astronomical one substituted for it, as will 
be seen from the following explanations : — 

[^siris, represented in Egypt by a sceptre sur- 
mounted by an eye^ to signify him that rules and 
sees, symbolizes the sun. He is killed by Typhon, 
a serpent engendered by the mud of the Nile. But 
Typhon is a transposition of Python, derived from the 
Greek word 7ru9w, " to putrefy," and means nothing 
else but the noxious vapours arising from steam- 

68 Secret Societies. 

ing mudj and thus concealing the sun ; wherefore in 
the Greek mythology Apollo — another name, for the 
sun — is said to have slain Python with his arrows, 
that is to say^ dispelled the vapours by his rays. 
Osiris having been kiUed by Python — to which, 
however, the wider meaning of the sun's imaginary 
disappearance, or death, during the winter season, 
was attached — Isis, his wife, or the moon, goes in 
search of him, and at last finds his body, cut into 
fourteen pieces, that" is to say, into as many parts as 
there are days between the full moon and the new ; 
she collects all the pieces, with one important ex- 
ception, for which she made a substitution which 
gave rise to a worship resembling that of the Hngam 
in India. 

<^But although to the vulgar crowd Isis was only 
the moon, to the initiated she was the Universal 
Mother, the primordial harmony and beauty, called 
in Egyptian " lophis," which the Greeks turned into 
" Sophia," ^ whence the Virgin Sophia of theosophy. 
Hence also the many names by which Isis was 
known (54) , indicating the multifarious aspects sl^e 
necessarily assumed. Her image was worshipped 
at Sais under the emblem of "Isis veiled," with 

' By a transposition of consonants, common enough in 
the formation of new words ; Typhon from Python is an 
instance already mentioned ; forma, from fjopcpti, is another. 

Ancient Mysteries. 69 

this inscription : — " I am all that has been, all that 
is, and all that will be, and no mortal has drawn 
aside my veil." 

Apis, or the Bull, was an object of worship 
throughout all the ancient world, because formerly 
the zodiacal sign of the BuU opened the vernal 
equinox (69). 

48. The Phoenix. — The Egyptians began the year 
with the rising of the dog-star or Sirius. But 
making no allowance for the quarter of a day which 
finishes the year, the civil year every four years 
began one day too soon, and so the beginniag of 
the year went successively through every one of 
the days of the natural year in the space of four 
times 365, which makes 1,460 years. They fancied 
they blessed and made all the seasons to prosper by 
making them thus to enjoy one after another the 
feast of Isis, which was celebrated along with that 
of Sirius, though it was frequently very remote from 
that constellation; wherefore they introduced the 
image of dogs, or even the real and living animals, pre- 
ceding the chariots of Isis. When in the 1461st year 
the feast again coincided with the rising of the star 
Sirius, they looked upon it as a season of plenty, 
and symbolized it by a bird of singular beauty, 
which they called Phcenix [delicvis ahundcms) , say- 
ing that it came to die upon the altar of the 
sun, and that out of its ashes there arose a little 

70 Secret Societies. 

worm, that gave birth to a bird perfectly like the 

49. The Gross. — Among the astronomical sym- 
bols we must not omit the Cross. This sign really 
signifies the fire, as we have seen (11. ix.), but 
in Egypt it was simply the Mlometer, consisting of 
an upright pole with a cross-bar, that was raised or 
lowered according to the swelling or decrease of 
the river. It was frequently surmounted by a circle, 
typifying the deity that governs this important 
operation. Now, the overflow of the Nile was 
considered the salvation of Egypt, and hence the 
sign came to be looked upon with great veneration 
and to have occult virtues attributed to it, such as 
the power of averting evil ; wherefore the Egyptians 
hung small figures of the cross, or rather the letter 
T, with a ring attached to it, the crux ansata, round 
the necks of their children and of sick persons ; 
they applied it to the string or fiUets with which 
they wrapped up their mummies, where we still 
find it ; it became in fact an amulet {amolitio 
malorum) . Other nations adopted the custom, and 
hence the cross or the letter T, whereby it was 
symbolized throughout the ancient world, was 
supposed to be a sign or letter of more than ordi- 
nary significance. In the mysteries, the crijix 
ansata was the symbol of eternal life. But the 
cross was worshipped as an astronomical sign in 
other countries. We have seen that in India the 

Ancient Mysteries. 71 

Deophyte was sanctified by the sign of tlie cross 
(39) , wliicli in most ancient nations was a symbol 
of the universe^ pointing as it does to the four 
quarters of the compass ; and the erection of temples 
on the cruciform principle is as old as architecture 
itself. The two great pagodas of Benares and 
Mathura are erected in the form of vast crosses^ of 
which each wing is equal in extent, as is also the 
pyramidal temple of New Grange in Ireland. But 
the older and deeper meaning of the cross is shown 
in (11); it refers to the fire, and the double quality 
everywhere observable in nature. The triple tau is 
the Eoya,l Arch Mason^s badge. 

60. Places of Initiation. — In Egypt and other 
countries (India, Media, Persia, Mexico) the place 
of initiation was a pyramid erected over subterra- 
nean caverns. The pyramids, in fact, may be looked 
upon, considering their size, shape, and solidity, as 
artificial mountains, covering buried cities. Their 
form not only symbolically represented the ascend- 
ing flame, but also had a deeper origin in the conical 
form, which is the primitive figure of all natural 
products. And the Great Pyramid, the tomb of 
Osiris, was erected in such a position and to such a 
height, that at the spring and autumnal equinoxes 
the sun would appear exactly at midday upon the 
summit of the pyramid, seeming to rest upon this 
immense pedestal, when his worshippers, extended 
at the base, would contemplate the great Osiris as 

72 Secret Societies. 

well when lie descended into the tomb as when he 
arose from it triumphant. 

51. Process of Initiation. — The candidate, con- 
ducted by a guide, was led to a deep, dark well or 
shaft in the pyramid, and, provided with a torch, he 
descended into it by means of a ladder aflBxed to 
the side. Arrived at the bottom, he saw two doors 
— one of them barred, the other yielding to the 
touch of his hand. Passing through it, he beheld a 
winding gallery, whilst the door behind him shut 
with a clang that reverberated through the vaults. 
Inscriptions Uke the following met his eye : " Whoso 
shall pass along this road alone, and without looking 
back, shall be purified by fire, water, and air ; and 
overcoming the fear of death, shaU issue from the 
bowels of the earth to the light of day, preparing his 
soul to receive the mysteries of Isis." Proceeding 
onward, the candidate arrived at another iron gate, 
guarded by three armed men, whose shining helmets 
were surmounted by emblematic animals, the Cer- 
berus of Orpheus. Here the candidate had ofifered 
to him the last chance of returning, if so incUned. 
Electing to go forward, he underwent the trial by 
fire, by passing through a haU. filled with inflam- 
mable substances in a state of combustion, and 
forming a bower of fire. The floor was covered with 
a grating of red-hot iron bars, leaving, however, 
narrow interstices where he mi^ht safi^ly place his 
foot. Having surmounted this-obstacle, he has to 


Ancient Mysteries. 73 

encounter the trial by water. A wide and dark 
canalj fed by the waters of the Nile, arrests his pro- 
gress. Placing the flickering lamp upon his head, 
he plunges into the canal, and swims to the opposite 
bank, where the greatest trial, that by air, awaits 
him. He lands upon a platform leading to an ivory 
door, bounded by two walls of brass, into each of 
which is inserted an immense wheel of the same 
metal. He in vaia attempts to open the door, 
when, espying two large iron rings affixed to it, he 
takes hold of them ; but suddenly the platform sinks 
from under him, a chilling blast of wind extinguishes 
his lamp, the two brazen wheels revolve with for- 
midable rapidity and stunning noise, whilst he 
remains suspended by the two rings over the 
fathomless abyss. But ere he is exhausted the 
platform returns, the ivory door opens, and he sees 
before him a magnificent temple, brilliantly illumi- 
nated, and filled with the priests of Isis clothed in 
the mystic insignia of their offices, the hierophant at 
their head. But the ceremonies of initiation do not 
cease here. The candidate is subject to a series of 
fastings, which gradually increase for nine times 
nine days. During this period a rigorous silence 
is imposed upon him, which if he preserve in- 
violate, he is at length fully initiated into the 
esoteric doctrines of Isis. He is led before the 
triple statue of Isis, Osiris, and Horus, — another 
symbol of the sun, — where he swears never to 

74 Secret Societies. 

publish the things revealed to him in the sanctuary, 
and first drinks the water of Lethe presented to 
him by the high priest^ to forget all he ever heard in 
his unregenerate state, and afterwards the water of 
Mnemosyne, to remember all the lessons of wisdom 
imparted to him in the mysteries. He is next 
introduced into the most secret part of the ' sacred 
edifice, where a priest instructs him in the appli- 
cation of the symbols found therein. He is then 
publicly announced as a person who has been 
initiated into the mysteries of Isis — the first degree 
of the Egyptian rites. 

52. Mysteries of Serapis. — These constituted the 
second degree. We know but little of them, and 
Apuleius only slightly touches upon them. When 
Theodosius destroyed the temple of Serapis there 
were discovered subterraneous passages and engines 
wherein and wherewith the priests tried the candi- 
dates. Porphyry, in referring to the greater myste- 
ries, quotes a fragment of Cheremones, an Egyptian 
priest, which imparts an astronomical meaning to 
the whole legend of Osiris, thus confirming what 
has been said above. And Herodotus, in describing 
the temple of Minerva, where the rites of Osiris 
were celebrated, and speaking of a tomb placed in 
the most secret recess, as in Christian churches 
there are calvaries behind the altar, says : " It is 
the tomb of a god whose name I dare not mention.'' 

Ancient Mysteries. 75 

Calvary is derived from the Latin word ealvus, "bald/' 
and figuratively ''arid," "dried up ;" pointing to the 
decay of nature in the winter season. 

53. Mysteries of Osiris. — These formed the third 
degree, or summit of Egyptian initiation. In these 
the legend of the murder of Osiris by his brother 
Typhon was represented, and the god was per- 
sonated by the candidate. (As we shall see here- 
after, the Freemasons exactly copy this pro- 
cedure in the master's degree, substituting for 
Osiris, Hiram Abiff, one of the three grand masters 
at the building of Solomon's temple.) The per- 
fectly initiated candidate was called Al-om-jak, from 
the name of the Deity (40), and the dogma of the 
unity of God was the chief secret imparted to him. 
How great and how dangerous a secret it was may 
easily be seen when it is borne in mind that cen- 
turies after the institution of the mysteries, Socrates 
lost his Hfe for promulgating the same doctrine. 

54. Isis.- — The many names assumed by Isis have 
already been alluded to. She was also represented 
with different emblems, aU betokening her manifold 
characteristics. The lucid round, the snake, the 
ears of com, and the sistrum represent the titular 
deities of the Hecatsean (Hecate, Goddess of Night), 
Bacchic, Eleusinian, and Ionic mysteries, that is, 
the mystic rites in general for whose sake the alle- 
gory was invented. The black palla in which she is 

76 Secret Societies. 

wrapped, embroidered with a silver moon and stars, 
denotes the time in which the mysteries were cele- 
brated, namely, in the dead of night. Her names, 
to return to them, are given in the following words, 
put into her mouth by Apuleius in his " Golden 
Ass," which is a description of the mysteries under 
the guise of a fable : — " Behold, Lucius, I, moved 
by thy prayers, am present with thee ; I who am 
nature, the parent of things, the queen of all the 
elements, the primordial progeny of the ages, the 
supreme of divinities, the sovereign of the spirits of 
the dead, the first of the celestials, the first and 
universal substance, the uniform and multiform 
aspect of the uncreated essence ; I who rule by my 
nod the luminous sumimits of the heavens, the 
breezes of the sea, and the silence of the realms 
beneath, and whose one divinity the whole orb of 
the earth venerates under a manifold form, by dif- 
ferent rites, and a variety of appellations. Hence 
the early Phrygians call me Pessinuntica, mother 
of the gods ; the Attic aborigines, Cecropian 
Minerva; the floating Cyprians, Paphian Venus; 
the arrow-bearing Cretans, Diana Dictynna ; the 
three-tongued Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine ; and 
the Eleusinians, the ancient goddess Ceres. Some 
also call me Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, 
and others Rhamnusia. The Ethiopians, the Arii, and 
the Egyptians, skilled in ancient learning, honour me 

Ancient Mysteries. 77 

with rites pecuKarly appropriatSj and call me by my 
true name. Queen Isis." Prom this it is quite clear 
that Isis was not simply the moon to the initiated. 
In the sanctuary the multifarious forms are reduced 
to unity; the many idols are reduced to the one 
divinity^ i. e. primeval power and intelligence. 



[PBEAD of Egyptian Mysteries. — The 
irradiations of the mysteries of Egypt 
shine through and animate the secret 
doctrines of Phoenicia^ Asia Minora 
Greece^ and Italy. Cadmus and Inachus brought 
them into Greece at large, Orpheus into Thrace, Me- 
lampus into Argos, TrophonioiS-iiitaJBoeotia, Minos ■ 
into Crete, Cinyras into Cyprus, and Erechthe us i nto 
Athens. And asinEgyptthemysterieswerededicated 
to Isis and Osiris, so in Samothrace they were sacred 
to the mother of the gods, in "BoRntia. tp T^p.p.q Tvtih, in 
Cyprus to Venus, in Crete to Jupiter, in Athena to 
Ceres and Proserpine, in Amphissa to Castor and Pol- 
lux, in Lemnos to Vulcan, and so to others in other 
places ; but their end, as well as nature, was the same 
in aU — to teach monotheism and a future state. 

Ancient Mysteries. 79 

56. Dionysiac or Bacchic Mysteries. — These were 
divided into the greater and the less. The latter 
were celebrated every year at the autumnal equinox, 
and females were admitted to them, wearing the crea- 
tive emblem suspended round their necks. They 
ended with the sacrifice of an unclean animal, which 
was eaten by the worshippers. Then aspirants and 
initiated proceeded with sacred dances towards the 
temple. The Canephoroi, carrying golden vases full 
of the choicest fruits, were followed by the bearers 
of the creative emblem, who were furnished with 
long poles, and were crowned with ivy, a herb 
sacred to Bacchus, or the sun personified. Now 
came other celebrants habited as women, but per- 
forming all the repulsive actions of drunken men. 
The next night the ceremonies of initiation were 
performed, in which the fable of Bacchus slain by 
the Titans was scenically represented, the aspirant 
acting the part of Bacchus. 

The greater mysteries were celebrated every three 
years at the vernal equinox, in the neighbourhood 
of a marsh, like the festival of Sais, in Egypt. On 
the night preceding the initiation, the spouse of the 
hierophant sacrificed a ram. She represented the 
spouse of Bacchus, and when seated as such on the 
throne, the priests and initiated of both sexes ex- 
claimed: " Hail, spouse, hail, new light ! " The aspi- 
rant was purified by fire, water, and air, passing 
through trials similar to those described elsewhere 

80 Secret Societies. 

[e. g. 39), and finally, was introduced into the sanc- 
tuary crowned with myrtle and dressed in the skin 
of a fawn. ■ 

57. Sahazian Mysteries. — Sabazius was a name 
of Bacchus, probably derived from Siva or some 
cognate form, whose astronomical meaning is the 
planetary system of countless suns and stars. The 
mysteries were performed at night, and represented 
the amours of Jupiter, in the form of a serpent, and 
Proserpina. A golden — others say a living — ser- 
pent was introduced into the bosom of the candi- 
date, who exclaimed, " Bvoe ! Sabai ! Bacchi ! Anes ! 
Attes ! Hues ! " Evoe or Eve in most languages 
of antiquity meant both serpent and life ; a re- 
collection of the name of Adam's wife, and the 
origin of the serpent- worship of the ancient world. 
When Moses lifted up a brazen serpent in the Wil- 
derness, the afflicted Hebrews knew that it was a 
sign of preservation. Sabai has already been ex- 
plained; Hues and Attes were other names of 
Bacchus. These mysteries continued to be cele- 
brated to the last days of paganism, and in the days 
of Domitian, 7,000 initiated were found in Eome 

58. Mysteries of the Oahiri. — The name of the 
Cabiri was derived originally from Phoenicia; the 
word signifies " powerful." There were four gods — 
Aschieros, Achiochersus, Achiochersa, and Camillus. 
The last was slain by his three brothers, who carried 

Ancient Mysteries. 81 

away with them the reproductive organs ; and this 
allegorical murder was celebrated in the secret rites. 
Camillus is the same as Osirisj Adonis, and others, 
all subject to the same mutilation, all symbolizing 
the sun^s loss of generative power during winter. 
The chief places for the celebration of these mys- 
teries were the islands of Samothrace and Lemnos. 
The priests were called Corybantes. There is much 
perplexity connected with this subject; since, be- 
sides what is mentioned above, the mysteries are 
also said to have been instituted in honour of Atys, 
the son of Cybele. Atys means the sun, and the 
mysteries were celebrated at the vernal equinox, 
and there cannot, therefore, be any doubt that, like 
all the other mysteries in their period of decay, they 
represented the enigmatical death of the sun in 
winter and his regeneration in the spring. The 
ceremonies lasted three days. The first day was one 
of sadness : a cruciform pine with the image of Atys 
attached to it was cut down, the mutilated body of 
Atys having been discovered at the f6ot of such a 
tree ; the second day was a day of trumpets, which 
were blown to awaken the god from his deathlike 
sleep ; and the third day, that of joy, was the day 
of initiation and celebration of his return to life. 

Y59. ^leusimoM Mysteries. — The Bleusinian mys- 
teries were celebrated in honour of Ceres, the Isis 
of Greece ; whilst Osiris appears as Proserpine— for 
the death of Osiris and the carrying off of Proserpine 

82 Secret Societies. 

to the infernal regions symbolize tLe same thing, viz. 
the sun's disappearance during the winter season. 
The mysteries were originally celebrated only at 
Bleusis, a town of Attica, but eventually extended 
to Italy and even to Britain. Like aU other mys- 
teries, they were divided into the greater and the 
less, and the latter, Hke the Bacchic and Cabiric rites, 
lasted nine days, and were merely preparatory, con- 
sisting of lustrations and sacrifices. The cere- 
monies of initiation iato the greater mysteries were 
opened by the herald exclaiming : " Retire, ye 
profane." The aspirant was presented naked, to 
signify his total helplessness and dependence on 
Providence. He was clothed with the skin of a 
calf. An oath of secrecy was then administered, 
and he was asked : " Have you eaten bread ?" The 
reply was "No." Proserpine cannot return to the 
earth because she has eaten of the fruit of the 
infernal regions ; Adam faUs when he tastes of 
earthly fruit. " I have drunk the sacred mixture, I 
have been fed from the basket of Ceres; I have 
laboured ; I have entered into the bed." That is to 
say, he had been placed in the pastos, in which the 
aspirant for initiation was immured during the 
period of his probation (39). He was then made 
to pass through a series of trials, similar in character 
to those adopted ia other mysteries, after which he 
was introduced into the ianer temple, where he 
beheld the statue of the goddess Ceres, surrounded 

Ancient Mysteries. 83 

by a dazzling light. The candidate^ who had hereto- 
fore been called a mystes, or novice, was now termed 
epoptes, or eye-witness, and the secret doctrine was 
revealed. The assembly was then closed with the 
Sanscrit words, " Konx om pax," the meaning of 
which is uncertain. According to Captain Wilford, 
the words Candscha om Pacsha, of which the above 
is a Greek corruption, are still used at the religious 
meetings and ceremonies of the Brahmins — another 
proof, if it were needed, that the mysteries are of 
Eastern origin. 

60. Doors of Horn and Ivory. — The sixth book of 
the "^eneid," and the ''Golden Ass" of Apuleius, 
contain descriptions of what passed in the celebration 
of the Eleusroian mysteries. In the former work, 
^neas and his guide/having finished their progress 
through the infernal regions, are dismissed through 
the ivory gate of dreams. But there was another 
gate of horn through which the aspirant entered; 
for all caverns of initiation had two gates ; one 
called the descent to heU, the other the ascent of the 
just. The ancient poets said that through the gate 
of horn issued true visions, and through the gate of 
ivory, false. I^ow from this, and the fact that 
^neas and his guide issue through it, it has been 
inferred by some critics that Virgil meant to intimate, 
that all he had said concerning the infernal regions' 
was to be considered a fable. But such could not be 
the poet's intention; what he really implied was 

84 Secret Societies. 

that a future state was a real state, whilst the re- 
presentations thereof in the mysteries were only- 
shadows. The ivory gate itself was no other than 
the sumptuous door of the temple through which the 
initiated came out when the ceremony was over. 

61. Swpjpression of Eleusinian Mysteries. — These 
mysteries survived aU. others ; they shone with 
great splendour when the secret worship of the 
Cabiri, and even of Egypt, had already disappeared, 
and were not suppressed until the year 396 of our 
era by the pitiless Theodosius the Great, who, in his 
zeal for the Christian religion, committed the greatest 
cruelties against unbelievers. 

62. The Thesmophoria. — The term signifies a 
legislative festival, and refers specially to the sym- 
bolic rites forming part of the festival consecrated 
to Ceres, who was said to have given to the Greeks 
sound laws founded on agriculture and property, 
in memory of which, chosen women in the solemn 
processions of the Thesmophoria carried at Bleusis 
the tablets on which the laws were written ; hence 
the name of the festival, which was one of legisla- 
tion and semination. We have only fragmentary 
notices concerning these festivals, though we derive 
some information from -Aristophanes^ " Thesmopho- 
riazusse," which, however, is very sUght, as it would 
have been dangerous for him, in alluding to these 
mysteries, to employ more than general and simple 
designations. We discover, however, that they 

Ancient Mysteries. 85 

were- celebrated in the month of October, and lasted 
three or four days. Females only took part in 
them, and it was death for a man to enter the 
temple. Every tribe of Athens chose two female^ 
born in. wedlock and married, and distinguished for 
virtue. The men who possessed a capital of three 
talents were compelled to give their wives the 
money necessary to defray the cost of the festivals. 
For nine days also there was to be total forbearance 
between married couples ; for the Thesmophoria not 
only had reference to agriculture, but also to the 
more intimate relations between man and wife. As 
Ceres or the Earth mourned for the absence of Pro- 
serpine, or the Sun, so theAthenian women mourned 
during the celebration for the absence of the light of 
love ; and as Ceres is at length cheered up by the 
homely beverage offered by Baubo, so a personage 
called lambe, with absurd jokes and gross gestures, 
restores the attendants to a more joyous mood. 

63. Aim of Grecian Mysteries more Moral than 
BeUgious. — The object of the initiation into the 
mysteries of Greece was more moral than reUgious, 
differing in this from the Indian and Egyptian 
mysteries, that were religious, scientific, and political. 
For at the time of their introduction into Greece 
science had ceased to be the prerogative of the few ; 
the political life of that country had stirred up the 
energy of the people and made it the architect of its 
own greatness. We therein behold already the dawn 

86 Secret Societies. 

of a new era j the decay of the ancient nature-worship, 
and a tendency to, aijd endeavour on the part of 
mankind after, inquiry and free striving, to overcome 
natuxe ; which is diametrically opposed to the spirit 
of antiquity, which consisted in the total resignation 
and surrender of the individual to the influences of 
the All. 



iHINESE Metwphysics. — In Chinese cos- 
mogony we discover traces of the once 
universally prevailing knowledge of the 
properties of eternal nature. Matter — 
the first material principle — is assumed to act upon 
itself J and thus to evolve the dual powers. This first 
material principle is caUed Tai-Keik, and described 
as the first hnk in the chain of causes ; it is the 
utmost limit in the midst of iUimitablenesSj though 
in the midst of nonentity there always existed an 
infinite Le, or " principle of order." The Le is 
called infinite, because it is impossible to represent 
it by any figiire, since it is the " Eternal Nothing." 
This undoubted fragmentary tradition of the most 
ancient metaphysical system in the world has been 
ridiculed by many modern writers ; but any reader 

88 Secret Societies. 

will see that, however imperfectly expressed, it is 
the theosophic doctrine {11 ). 

65. Introduction of Chinese Mysteries. — The Chi- 
nese practised Buddhism in its most simple form, 
and worshipped an invisible God, until a few cen- 
turies before the Christian era. Prom the teaching 
of Confucius, who Hved five centuries before that 
era, it appears that in his time there were no mys- 
teries; they only became necessary when the 
Chinese became an idolatrous nation. The chief 
end of initiation then was an absorption into the 
deity 0-Mi-To Fo. Omito was derived from the 
Sanscrit Armida, " immeasurable," and Fo was only 
another name for Buddha. The letter Y repre- 
sented the triune God, and was indeed the ineffable 
name of the Deity, the Tetractys of Pythagoras, and 
the Tetragrammaton of the Jews. The rainbow was 
a celebrated symbol in the mysteries, for it typified 
the re-appearance of the sun ; and this not only in 
China, but even in Mexico (73). 

66. Parallel between Buddhism and Roman 
Catholicism. — The general resemblance between 
Buddhism and Romanism is so marked that it is 
acknowledged by the Romanists themselves, who 
account for this fact by the supposition that Satan 
counterfeited the true religion. This correspon- 
dence holds in minute particulars. Both have a 
supreme and infallible head, the ceHbacy of the 
priesthood, monasteries and nunneries, prayers in an 

Ancient Mysteries. 89 

unkaown tongue, prayers to saints and intercessors, 
and especially, and principally too, a^virgia with a 
child ; also prayers for the dead, repetition of prayers 
■with the' use of a rosary, works of merit and super- 
erogation; self-imposed austerities and bodily in- 
flictions ; a formal daily service consisting of chants, 
burning of candles, sprinkling of holy water, bowings, 
prostrations ; fast days and feast days, religious pro- 
cessions, images and pictures and fabulous legends, 
the worship of reHcs, the sacrament of confession, 
purgatory, &c. In some respects their rites resem- 
ble those of the Jews ; they propitiate the Supreme 
Deity with the blood of buUs and goats, and also 
offered holocausts. The resemblance is easily ac- 
counted for. Romanism and some other creeds are 
only modernized Buddhism ; and many religions are 
but superstitious perversions of the knowledge of 
natural phenomena. The tradition about Prester 
John has its origin in this resemblance between Bud- 
dhism and a corrupted Christianity. In the twelfth 
century there was in China a great Mongol tribe pro- 
fessing Buddhism, which by travellers was mistaken 
for an Oriental Christian religion. The Nestorian 
Christians, dwelling among the Mongols, called its . 
head John the Priest, and hence arose the tradition 
that in the heart of Asia there was a Christian 
Church, whose po^es bore the title of Prester John. 
67. I/au-Tze.- — Confucius was the religious law- 
giver of China, but Lau-Tze was its philosopher. 

90 Secret Societies. 

He excelled the former in depth and independence 
of thought. The word Lau, or Le, is difficult to 
render ; the Chinese itself defines it as " a thing in- 
definite, impalpable, and yet therein are forms." 
Lau-Tze himself seems to make it equivalent to 
" intelligence." His philosophy is peaceful and 
loving, and ia this respect presents various com- 
mendable points of resemblance to Christian doc- 

68. Modern Chinese Societies. — The most noted 
is that of Thian-ti-w^, or the Union of Heaven and 
Earth, which has for its leading dogma the equality 
of mankind, and the duty of the rich to share their 
superfluity with the poor. The candidate, having 
successfully passed through the most severe trials, 
is conducted before the master, two members of the 
order cross their swords over his head, and draw 
blood from both, which they pour into the same 
cup, — a sacramental drink, to which both put their 
lips when the candidate has pronounced the oath. 
This association is spread through the southern pro- 
vinces of China and the island of Java. • In central 
and northern China there are two other societies, 
probably derived from the former, that of Pe- 
Han-kiaOj or the Lotos, and that of Thian-H, or 
Celestial Eeason. Henry Pottinger, in a despatch 
to Lord Aberdeen (1843), alludes to a fourth, say- 
ing : " The song being finished, Ke-Ying, the 
Chinese commissioner, having taken from his arm 

Ancient Mysteries. 91 

a gold bracelet^ gave it to mej informing me^ at the 
same time, that he had received it in his tender 
youth from his father, and that it contained a mys- 
terious legend, and that, by merely showing it, it 
would ia aU parts of China assure me a fraternal re- 
ception." Another society, formed at the beginning 
of this century, is that of the " Triad," whose object 
is to initiate the indolent and prejudiced Chinese 
into Western civilization. The society of the "White 
Waterbly,'^ whose chief could not be discovered by 
the Chinese government, caused many and disas- 
trous political disturbances. 

69. Japanese Mysteries. — The Japanese held that 
the world was enclosed in an egg before the creation, 
which egg was broken by a bull — the ever-recurring 
astronomical allegory, alluding to the Bull of the 
zodiac, which in former times opened the seasons, 
the vernal equinox. It is the same bull Apis which 
Egypt adored (47), and which the Jews in the wilder- 
ness worshipped as the golden calf; also the bull 
which, sacrificed in the mysteries of Mithras, poured 
out its blood to fertilize the earth. The Japanese 
worshipped a deity who was styled the Son of the Un- 
known God, considered the creator of sun and moon,, 
and called Tensio-Dai-Sin. The aspirants for initia- 
tion were conducted through artificial spheres, 
formed of movable circles, representing the revolu- 
tions of the planets. The mirror was a significant 
emblem «f the all-seeing eye of their chief deity(ll). 

92 Secret Societies. 

In the closing ceremony of preparation the candi- 
date wa^ enclosed in the pastes, the door of which 
was said to be guarded by a terrible divinity, armed 
with a drawn sword. During the course of his pro- 
bation the aspirant sometimes acquired so high a 
degree of enthusiasm as to refuse to quit his con- 
finement in the pastes, and to remain there until 
he literally perished of famine. To this voluntary 
martyrdom was attached a promise of never-ending 
happiness hereafter. Their creed indeed is Buddh- 
ism, slightly modified. " Diabolo ecdesiam Ghristi 
imitante ! " exclaimed Xavier on seeing how the 
practices of the Japanese resembled those of the 
Romanists in Europe ; and, as has been observed of 
Buddhism ia China and Thibet, aU the practices of 
the Japanese ritual are so tinged with the colour of 
Romanism, that they might well justify the exclama- 
tion of Xavier, who was neither a savant nor a 
philosopher (66). 

70. Japanese Doctrines. — The god Tensio-Dai-Sia 
has twelve apostles, and the sun, the planetary hero, 
fights with monsters and the elements. The minis- 
ters of the Temple of the Sun wear tunics of the 
colour of fire, and annually celebrate four festivals, 
the third day of the third month, the fifth day of 
the fifth, the seventh day of the seventh, and the 
ninth day of the ninth month respectively ; and at 
one of these festivals they represent a myth similar 
to that of Adonis, and nature is personified by a 

Ancient Mysteries. 93 

priest dressed in many colours. The members of 
this society are called Jammahos, and the initiated 
are enjoined a long time to abstain from meat and 
to prepare themselves by many pmifications. 

71. The Lama. — The Grand Lama, the God of 
Thibet, becomes incarnate in man ; thus much the 
priests reveal to the people. But the true religion, 
which consists of the doctrine of the supposed origin 
of the world, is only made known in the almost 
inaccessible mysteries. The man in whom the 
Grand Lama has for the time become incarnate, 
and who is the pontiff, is held in such veneration, 
that the people eat pastiles, accounted sacred, and 
made from the unclean remains of the food which 
had contributed to the sustenan6e of his body. 
This disgusting practice, however, with them is 
simply the result of their belief in the metempsy- 
chosis — parallel with the Indian doctrine of corrup- 
tion and reproduction, symbolized by the use of 
cowdung in the purification of the aspirant; and 
its real meaning is to show that all the parts of 
the universe are incessantly absorbed, and pass into 
the substance of each other. It is upon the model 
of the serpent who devours his tail. 



j MEBIGAN Aborigines. — Ethnologists 
can tell us as yet nothing as to the 
origia of the earliest iahabitants of the 
American continent ; but if the reader 
will accept the theory propounded ia the introduc- 
tion to this work (6 — 9), he will be at no loss to 
answer the question. As nature in Asia brought 
forth the Caucasian races^ so in the western hemi- 
sphere it gave birth to the various races peopling it. 
That one of them was a highly civilized race in pre- 
historic times is proved by the ruins of beautiful 
cities discovered in Central America; and aU the 
antiquarian remains show that the religion of Mexico 
and Peru was substantially the same as that prac- 
tised by the various nations of the East ; and natu- 
rally so, for the moral and physical laws of the uni- 

Ancient Mysteries. 95 

verse are everywhere the same, and, working in the 
same manner, produce the same results, only modi- 
fied by climatic and local conditions. 

73. Mexican Deities. — The religious system of the 
Mexicans bore a character of dark and gloomy aus- 
terity. They worshipped many deities, the chief of 
which were Teotl, the iuvisible and supreme being ; 
Virococha, the creator; VitzHputzli or Heritzilo- 
pochtli, the god of mercy, to whom the most san- 
guinary rites were offered (which proves that the 
Mexican priests were quite as inconsistent in this 
respect as the priestly bigots of Europe, who, iu 
the name of the God of mercy, tortured, racked and 
burnt millions that differed from whatever creed had 
been set up as the orthodox and legalized one) ; 
Tescalipuca, the god of vengeance ; Quetzalcoatl, 
the Mexican Mercury, whose name signifies the 
"serpent clothed with green feathers;" Mic- 
tlaneiheratl, the goddess of heU.; Tlaloc-teatH, or 
Neptune ; and Ixciana, or Venus. To VitzHputzH 
was ascribed the renovation of the world, and his 
name referred to the sun. He was said to be the 
ofispring of a virgin, who was impregnated by a 
plume of feathers, which descended from heaven 
into her bosom, invested with all the colours of the 
rainbow (65). He was represented in the figure of a 
man, with a dread-inspiring aspect. He was seated on 
a globe over a lofty altar, which was borne in proces- 
„sion during the celebration of the mysteries. His 

96 Secret Societies. 

right hand grasped a snake, the symbol of life, and 
representations of this reptile are found on all the 
temples of Mexico and Peru. Traces of the serpent- 
worship of the western world are also found in the 
states of Ohio and Iowa, where serpent mounds, 
formed of earth, 1,000 feet long or more, are stiU to 
be found. The office of Tescalipuca was to punish 
the sins of men by the iafliction of plagues, famine, 
and pestilence. His anger could only be appeased 
by human sacrifices — thousands of men were fre- 
quently immolated to him ia one single day. 

74. Cruelty of Mexican Worship. — The temples of 
Mexico were full of horrible idols, which were aU 
bathed and washed with human blood. The chapel 
of VitzHputzli was decorated with the skulls of the 
wretches that had been slaiu iu sacrifice ; the walls 
and floor were inches thick with blood, and before 
the image of the god might often be seen the stiU 
palpitating hearts of the human victims offered up 
to him, whose skins served the priests for garments. 
This revolting custom, as a legend says, arose from 
the fact that Tozi, the " Grand Mother," was of 
human extraction. Vitzliputzli procured her divine 
honours by enjoining the Mexicans to demand 
her of her father for their queen ; this being done, 
they also commanded him to put her to death, after- 
wards to flay her, and to cover a young man with 
her skin. It was in this manner she was stripped 
of her humanity, to be placed among the gods. 

Ancient Mysteries. 97 

Another disgusting practice arising from this legend 
■will be mentioned hereafter. 

75. Initiatiofi. into Mysteries. — The candidate had 
to undergo all the terrors^ sufferings, and penances 
practised in the Eastern world. He was scourged 
with knotted cords, his flesh was cut with knives, and 
reeds put into the wounds, that the blood might be 
seen to trickle more freely, or they were cauterized 
■with red-hot cinders. Many perished under these 
■trials. The lustrations were performed, not with 
■water, but with blood, and the candidate's habit was 
not white, but black, and before initiation he was 
given a drink, which was said to dispel fear, which, 
indeed, it may have done in some degree by disturb- 
ing the brain. The candidate was then led into the 
■dark caverns of initiation, excavated beneath the foun- 
dations of the mighty pyramidal temple of Vitzliputzli 
in Mexico, and passed through the mysteries which 
symbolically represented the wanderings of their 
^ods, i. e. the course of the sun through the signs 
of the zodiac. The caverns were caUed " the path 
of the dead." Everything that' could appal the 
imagination and test his courage was made to appear 
before him. Now he heard shrieks of despair and 
the groans of the dying ; he was led past the dun- 
geons where the human victims, being fattened for 
sacrifice, were confined, and through caverns slippery 
with half congealed blood; anon he met with the 
quivering frame of the dying man, whose heart had 


98 Secret Societies. 

just been torn from his body and offered up to 
their sanguinary god, and looking up he beheld in 
the roof the orifice through which the victims had 
been precipitated, for they were now immediately 
under the altar of Vitzliputzli. At length, however, 
he arrived at a narrow chasm or stone fissure, at the 
e^d of this extensive range of caverns, through 
which he was formally protruded, and received by a 
shouting multitude as a person regenerated or bom 
again. The females, divesting themselves of their 
little clothing, danced in a state of nudity like the 
frantic Bacchantes, and, having repeated the dance 
three times, they gave themselves up to unbounded 

76. The Greater Mysteries. — But as with Eastern 
nations, the Mexicans had, besides the general reli- 
gious doctrines communicated to the initiated, an 
esoteric doctrine, only attainable by the priests, and 
not even by them until they had qualified themselves 
for it by the sacrifice of a human victim. The most 
ineffable degrees of knowledge were imparted to 
them at midnight and under severe obligations, 
whose disregard entailed death without remission. 
The real doctrine taught was astronomical, and, like 
the Eastern nations, they at their great festivals 
lamented the disappearance of the sun, and rejoiced 
at its re-appearance at the festival of the new fire, 
as it was called. AH fire, even the sacred fire of the 
temple, having been extiuguished, the population of 

Ancient Mysteries. 99 

Mexico^ with the priests at their head^ marched to a 
hill near the city, where they waited till the Pleiades 
ascended the middle of the sky, when they sacrificed 
a human victim. The instrument made use of by 
the priests to kindle the fire was placed on the 
wound made in the breast of the prisoner destined 
to be sacrificed; and, when the fire was kindled, the 
body was placed on an enormous pile ready pre- 
pared, and this latter set on fire. The new fire, 
received with joyful shouts, was carried from village 
to village ; where it was deposited in the temple, 
whence it was distributed to every private dwelling. 
When the sun appeared on the horizon the accla- 
mations were renewed. The priests were further 
taught the doctrine of immortality, of a triune deity, 
of the original population, who — ^led by the god 
VitzliputzH, holding in his hand a rod formed like a 
serpent, and seated in a square ark — finally settled 
upon a lake, abounding with the lotus,* where they 
erected their tabernacle. This lake was the lake in 
the midst of which the city of Mexico originally 

77. Human Sacrifices. — No priest was to be fully 
initiated into the mysteries of the Mexican religion 
until he had saciificed a human victim. This hor- 
rible rite, which the Spaniards, who conquered the 
country, often saw performed on their own captive 
countrymen, was thus performed: — The chief priest 
carried ia his hand a large and sharp knife made of 

100 Secret Societies. 

flint ; another priest carried a collar of wood ; the 
other four priests who assisted arranged themselves 
adjoining the pyramidal stone, which had a convex 
top, so that the man to be sacrificed, being laid 
thereon on his back, was bent in such a manner that 
the stomach separated upon the slightest incision of 
the knife. Two priests seized hold of his feet and 
two more of his hands, whilst the fifth fastened 
round his neck the collar of wood. The high priest 
then opened his stomach with the knife, and tearing 
out his heart, held it up to the sun, and then threw 
it before the idol in one of the chapels on the top of 
the great pyramid where the rite was performed. 
The body was finally cast down the steps that wound 
all round the building. Forty or fifty victims were 
thus sacrificed in a few hours. Prisoners of rank 
or approved courage might escape this horrid death 
by fighting six Mexican warriors in succession. 
If they were successful their lives and liberty were 
granted to them ; but if they fell under the strokes 
of their adversaries they were dragged, dead or 
living, to the sacrificial stone, and their hearts torn 

78. Clothing in Bloody Shins. — We have already 
seen that the priests were clothed in the bloody 
skins of their victims. The same horrid custom 
was practised on other occasions. On certain 
festivals they dressed a man in the bloody skin just 
reeking from the body of a victim. Kings and 

Ancient Mysteries. 101 

grandees did not think it derogatory to their dignity 
to disguise themselves in this manner^ and to run 
up and down the streets, soliciting alms, which 
were applied to pious purposes. This horrible 
masquerade continued till the skin began to grow 
putrid. On another festival they would slay 
a woman and clothe a man with her skin, who thus 
equipped, danced for two days together with the 
rest of his feUow-citizens. 

79. Peruvian Mysteries. — The Incas, or rulers of 
Peru, boasted of their descent from the sun and 
moon, which therefore were worshipped, as well as 
the great god Pacha- Camac, whose very name was 
so sacred that it was only communicated to the 
imtiated. They also had an idol they termed Tanga- 
tango, meaning " One in three and three in one." 
Their secret mysteries, of which we know next to 
nothing, were celebrated on their great annual 
festival, held on the first day of the September 
moon, the people watching all night until the rising 
of the sun ; and when he appeared the eastern doors 
of the great temple of Casco were thrown open, so 
that the sun's radiance could illuminate his image in 
gold placed opposite. The walls and ceiling of this 
temple were aU covered over with gold plates, 
and the figure of the sun, representing a round 
face, surrounded with rays and flames, as modem 
painters usually draw the sun, was of such a size as 
almost to cover one side of the wall. It was. 

102 Secret Societies. 

moreover, double the thickness of the plates 
covering the walls. The Virgins of the Sun, who, 
like the Vestals of ancient Eome, had the keeping 
of the sacred fire entrusted to them, and were 
vowed to perpetual cehbacy, then walked round the 
altar, whilst the priests expounded the mild and 
equitable laws of Peru ; for, contrary to the practice 
of their near neighbours, the Mexicans, the Peru- 
vians had no sanguinary rites whatever, though 
some Spanish writers, who, of course, could see no 
good in non- Catholics and pagans, charged them 
with sacrificing young children of from four to six 
years old " in prodigious numbers," and also with 
slaying virgins. The Spaniards, no doubt, alluded to 
some iU- understood symbolical rite. 



\HE Druids, the Magi of the West. — The 
secret doctrines of the Druids were 
much the same as those of the G-ymno- 
sophists and Brahmins of India, the 
Magi of Persia, the priests of Egypt, and of aU other 
priests of antiquity. Like them, they had two sets of 
religious doctrines, exoteric and esoteric. Their rites 
were practised in Britain and Gaul, though they were 
brought to a much greater perfection in the former 
country, where the Isle of Anglesea was considered 
their chief seat. The word Druid is generally sup- 
posed to be derived from ^pvg, " an oak," which tree 
was particularly sacred among them, though its 
etymology may also be found in the Gaelic word 
Druidh, "a, wise man'' or ''magician." 

81. Temples. — Their temples, wherein the sacred 

104 Secret Societies. 

fire was preserved, were generally situate on emi- 
nences and in dense groves of oaks, and assumed 
various forms- — circular, because a circle was an em- 
blem of the universe ; oval, in allusion to tlie mun- 
dane egg, from which, according to the traditions of 
many nations, the universe, or- according to others, 
our first parents, issued ; serpentine, because a ser- 
pent was the symbol of Hu, the Druidic Osiris; 
cruciform, because a cross is an emblem of regenera- 
tion (49) ; or winged, to represent the motion of the- 
divine spirit. Their only canopy was the sky, and 
they were constructed of unhewn stones, their num- 
bers having reference to astronomical calculations. 
In the centre was placed a stone of larger dimen- 
sions than the others, and worshipped as the repre- 
sentative of the Deity. The three principal temples 
of this description in Britain were undoubtedly those 
of Stonehenge and Abury in the south, and that of 
Shap in Cumberland. Where stone was scarce, rude 
banks of earth were substituted, and the temple was 
formed of a high vallum and ditch. The most Hercu- 
lean labours were performed in their construction ; 
Stukeley says that it would cost, at the present 
time, £20,000 to throw up such a mound as Silbury 

82. Places of Initiation. — The adytum or ark of 
the mysteries was called a cromlech, and was used 
as the sacred pastes, or place of regeneration. It 
consisted of three upright stones, as supporters of 

Ancient Mysteries. 105 

a broad, flat stone laid across them on the top, so as 
to form a small cell. Kit Cotey's House, in Kent, 
was such a pastos. Considerable space, however, 
was necessary for the machinery of iaitiation in its 
largest and most comprehensive scale. Therefore, 
the Coer Sidi, where the mysteries of Druidism were 
performed, consisted of a range of buildings, adjoin- 
ing the temple, contaiuing apartments of aU sizea, 
cells, vaults, baths, and long and artfully-contrived 
passages, with all the apparatus of terror used on 
these occasions. Most frequently these places were 
subterranean ; and many of the caverns in this 
country were the scenes of Druidical initiation. The 
stupendous grotto at Castleton, in Derbyshire, called 
by Stukeley the Stygian Cave, as well as the giants' 
caves at Luckington and Badminster, in Wilts, cer- 
tainly were used for this purpose. 

83. Bites. — The system of Druidism embraced 
every religious and philosophical pursuit then known 
iu these islands. The rites bore an undoubted refer- 
ence to astronomical facts. Their chief deities are 
reducible to two, — a male and a female, the great 
father and mother, Hu and Ceridwen, distinguished 
by the same characteristics as belonged to Osiris 
and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or any other supreme 
god and goddess representing the two principles of 
all being. . The grand periods of initiation were 
quarterly, and determined by the course of the sun, 
and his arrival at the equinoctial and solstitial points. 

106 Secret Societies. 

But the time of annual celebration was May- eve, 
when fires were kindled on all the cairns and crom- 
lechs throughout the island, which burned all night 
to introduce the sports of May-day, whence all the 
national sports formerly or stiO. practised date then- 
origin. Round these fires choral dances were per- 
formed in honour of the sun, who, at this season, 
was figuratively said to rise from his tomb. The 
festival was licentious, and continued tiU. the luminary 
had attained his meridian height, when priests and 
attendants retired to the woods, where the most dis- 
graceful orgies were perpetrated. But the solemn 
initiations were performed at midnight, and con- 
tained three degrees, the first or lowest being the 
Eubates, the second the Bards, and the third the 
Druids. The candidate was first placed in the 
pastes bed, or coflSn, where his symbolical death 
represented the death of Hu, or the sun ; and his 
restoration in the third degree symbolized the restir- 
rection of the sun. He had to undergo trials and 
tests of courage similar to those practised in the 
mysteries of other countries (e. g. 26), and which 
therefore need not be detailed here. 

The festival of the 25th of December was cele- 
brated with great fires lighted on the tops of the hills, 
to announce the birth-day of the god Sol. This 
was the moment when, after the supposed winter 
solstice, he began to increase, and gradually to ascend. 
This festival indeed was kept not by the Druids 

Ancient Mysteries. 107 

only, but throughout the ancient world, from India 
to Ultima Thule. The fires, of course, were typical 
of the power and ardour of the sun, whilst the ever- 
greens used on the occasion foreshadowed the re- 
sults of the sun's renewed action on vegetation. 
The festival of the summer solstice wa^ kept on the 
24th of June. Both days are still kept as festivals 
in the Christian church, the former as Christmas, 
the latter as St. John's Day; because the early 
Christians judiciously adopted not only the festival 
days of the pagans, but also, so far as this could be 
done with propriety, their mode of keeping them ; 
substituting, however, a theological meaning for 
astronomical allusions. The use of evergreens in 
churches at Christmas time is the Christian per- 
petuation of an ancient Druidio custom. 

84. Docbrines. — The Druids taught the doctrine 
of one supreme being, a future state of rewards and 
punishments, the immortality of the soul and a 
metempsychosis. It was a maxim with them that 
water was the first principle of all things, and ex- 
isted before the creation in unsullied purity (11), 
which seems a contradiction to their other doctrine 
that day was the offspring of night, because night 
or chaos was in existence before day was created. 
They taught that time was only an intercepted frag- 
ment of eternity, and that there was an endless suc- 
cession of worlds. In fact, their doctrines were 
chiefly those of Pythagoras. They entertained 

108 Secret Societies. 

great veneration for the numbers three, seven, nine- 
teen (the Metonic cycle), and one hundred and forty- 
seven, produced by multiplying the square of seven 
by three. They also practised vaticination, pre- 
tending to predict future events from the flights 
of birds, human sacrifices, by white horses, the 
agitation of water, and lots. They seem, however, 
to have possessed considerable scientific knowledge. 
85. Political and Judicial Power. — Their authority 
in many cases exceeded that of the monarch. They 
were, of course, the sole interpreters of religion, and 
consequently superintended aU sacrifices ; for no 
private person was allowed to offer a sacrifice with- 
out their sanction. They possessed the power of 
excommunication, which was the most horrible pun- 
ishment that could be inflicted next to that of death, 
and from the effects of which the highest magistrate 
was not exempt. The great council of the realm 
was not competent to declare war or conclude peace 
without their concurrence. They determined all 
disputes by a final and unalterable decision, and had 
the power of inflicting the punishment of death. 
And, indeed, their altars streamed with the blood 
of human victims. Holocausts of men, women, and 
children, inclosed in large towers of wicker-work, 
were sometimes sacrificed as a burnt- offering to 
their superstitions, which were, at the same time, in- 
tended to enhance the consideration of the priests, who 
were an ambitious race delighting ia blood. The 

Ancient Mysteries. 109 

Druidsj it is said, preferred such as had been guilty 
of theft, robbery, or other crimes, as most accept- 
able to their gods ; but when there was a scarcity of 
criminals, they made no scruple to supply then- 
place with innocent persons. These dreadful sacri- 
fices were offered by the Druids, for the pubKc, on 
the eve of a dangerous war, or in the time of any 
national calamity ; and also for particular persons 
■of high rank, when they were afficted with any 
•dangerous disease. 

86. Priestesses. — The priestesses, clothed in white, 
:and wearing a metal girdle, foretold the future from 
the observation of natural phenomena, but more 
•especially from human sacrifices. For them was 
reserved the frightful task of putting to death the 
prisoners taken in war, and individuals condemned 
by the Druids ; and their auguries were drawn from 
the manner in which the blood issued from the many 
wounds inflicted, and also from the smoking entrails. 
Many of these priestesses maiatained a perpetual 
virginity, others gave themselves up to the most lux- 
urious excesses. They dwelt on lonely rocks, beaten 
by the waves of the ocean, which the mariners looked 
upon as temples surrounded with unspeakable pro- 
-digies. Thus the island of Sena or Liambis, The 
Saints, near Ushant, was the residence of certain of 
these priestesses, who delivered oracles to sailors ; 
and there was no power that was not attributed to 
them. Others, living near the mouth of the Loire, 

110 Secret Societies. 

once a year destroyed their temple, scattered its 
materials, and, having collected others, built a new 
one — of course a symbolical ceremony ; and if one 
of the priestesses dropped any of the sacred mate- 
rials, the others fell upon her with fierce yells, tore 
her to pieces, and scattered her bleeding Hmbs. 

87. Abolition. — As the Eomans gained ground in 
these islands the power of the Druids gradually 
declined; and they were finally assailed by Sue- 
tonius PauHnus, governor of Britain under Ifero, 
A. D. 61, in their stronghold, the Isle of Anglesey, 
and entirely defeated, the conqueror consuming many 
of them in the fires which they had kindled for 
burning the Roman prisoners they had expected to 
make — a very just retaliation upon these sanguinary 
priests. But though their dominion was thus de- 
stroyed, many of their reHgious practices continued 
much longer ; and so late as the eleventh century, 
in the reign of Canute, it was necessary to forbid 
the people to worship the sun, moon, fires, etc. 
Certainly many of the practices of the Druids are 
stiU adhered to in Freemasonry; and some writers 
on this order endeavour to show that it was esta- 
bhshed soon after the edict of Canute, and that as 
thereby the Druidical worship was prohibited in 
toto, the strongest oaths were required to bind the 
initiated to secresy. 



\B0TTE8.~The priests of Scandinavia 
were named Drottes, and instituted by 
Sigge, a Scythian prince, who is said 
afterwards to have assumed the name of 
Odin. Their number was twelve, who were alike 
priests and judges ; and from this order proceeded- 
the establishment of British juries. Their power was 
extended to its utmost limits, by being allowed a 
discretionary privilege of determiaing on the choice 
of human victims for sacrifice, from which even the 
monarch was not exempt — hence arose the necessityof 
cultivating the goodwill of these sovereign pontiflFs ; 
and as this order, like the IsraeUtish priesthood, 
was restricted to one family, they became possessed 
of unbounded wealth, and at last became so tyran- 
nical as to be objects of terror to the whole com- 

112 Secret Societies. 

munity. Christianity, promising to relieve it from 
this yoke, was hailed with enthusiasm; and the 
inhabitants of Scandinavia, inspired with a thirst for 
vengeance on account of accumulated arid long-con- 
tinued suffering, retaliated with dreadful severity on 
their persecutors, overthrowing the palaces and tem- 
ples, the statues of their gods, and all the parapher- 
nalia of Gothic superstition. Of this nothing re- 
mains but a few cromlechs ; some stupendous monu- 
ments of rough stone, which human fury cotdd not 
destroy) certain ranges of caverns hewn out of the 
solid rock ; and some natural grottos used for the 
purpose of initiation. 

89. Ritual. — The whole ritual had an astronomi- 
cal bearing. The places of initiation, as in other 
mysteries, were ia caverns, natural or artificial, and 
the candidate had to, undergo trials as frightful 
as the priests could render them. But instead 
of having to pass through seven caves or pas- 
sages, as in the Mithraic and other mysteries, he 
descended through niiie — the square of the mystic 
number three^subterranean passages, and he was 
instructed to search for the body of Balder, the 
Scandinavian Osiris, slain by Loke, the principle of 
darkness, and to use his utmost endeavours to raise 
him to life. To enter into particulars of the pro- 
cess of initiation would involve the repetition of 
what has been said before ; it may therefore suffice 
to observe that the candidate on arriving at the 

Ancient Mysteries. 113 

saceUum had a solemn oath administered to him on 
a naked sword, and ratified it by drinking mead 
out of a human skull. The sacred sign of the cross 
was impressed upon him, and a ring of magic 
virtues, the gift of Balder the Good, delivered 
to him. 

90. Astronomical Meaning Demonstrated. — The 
first canto of the Edda, which apparently contains a 
description of the ceremonies performed on the 
initiation of an aspirant, says that he seeks to know 
the sciences possessed by the ^saa or gods. He 
discovers a palace, whose roof of boundless dimen- 
sions is covered with golden shields. He en- 
counters a man engaged in launching upwards 
seven flowers. Here we easily discover the astro- 
nomical meaning : the palace is the world, the roof 
the sky ; the golden shields are the stars, the seven 
flowers the seven planets. The candidate is asked 
what is his name, and replies Gangler, that is, the 
wanderer, he that performs a revolution, distribut- 
ing necessaries to- mankind ; for the candidate per- 
sonates the sun. The palace is that of the king, 
the epithet the ancient Mystagogues gave to the 
head of the planetary system. Then he discovers 
three seats; on the lowest is the king called Har, sub- 
lime ; on the central one, Jafuhar, the equal of the 
Sublime; on the highest Tredie, the number three. 
These personages are those the neophyte beheld in 
the Eleusinian initiation (59), the hierophant, the 


114 Secret Societies. 

daduchus or torchbearerj and the epibomite or at- 
tendant on the altar ; those he sees in Freemasonry, 
the master, and the senior and junior wardens, sym- 
bolical personifications of the sun, moon, and 
Demiurgus, or grand architect of the universe. But 
the Scandinavian triad is usually represented by 
Odin, the chief deity ; Thor, his first-bom, the re- 
puted mediator between god and man, possessing 
unlimited power over the universe, wherefore his 
head was surrounded by a circle of twelve stars ; 
and Freya, a hermaphrodite, adorned with a 
variety of symbols significant of dominion over 
love and marriage. In the instructions given to 
the neophyte, he is told that the greatest and most 
ancient of gods is called Alfader (the father of all) , 
and has twelve epithets, which recall the twelve 
attributes of the sun, the twelve constellations, the 
twelve superior gods of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. 
Among the gods of the Scandinavian theogony 
there is Balder the Good, whose story, as already 
hinted above, formed the object of the initiatory 
ceremonies. Balder is Mithras, the sun's love. 
He foresees the danger that threatens him; he 
dreams of it at night. The other gods of Val- 
halla, the Scandinavian Olympus, to whom he 
reveals his sad forebodings, reassure him, and to 
guard against any harm befaUing him, exact an 
oath from every thing in nature in his behalf, except 
from the mistletoe, which was omitted on account 

Ancient Mysteries. 115 

of its apparently inoflEensive qualities. For an ex- 
periment, and in sport, the gods cast at Balder all 
kinds of missiles, witliout wounding him. Hoder 
the blind (that is, Fate) , takes no part in the diver- 
sion ; but Loke (the principle of evil, darkness, the 
season of winter) places a sprig in the hands of 
Hoder, and persuades him to cast it at the devoted 
victim, who falls pierced with mortal wounds. For 
this reason it was that this plant was gathered at 
the winter solstice by the Druids of Scandinavia, 
Gaul, and Britain, with a curved knife, whose form 
symbolized the segment of the zodiacal circle dur- 
ing which the murder of Balder took place. In 
the Bdda of Snorro we have another legend of 
Odin and Freya, the Scandinavian Isis or Venus, 
giving an account of the wanderings of the latter in 
search of the former, which, of course, have the same 
astronomical meaning as the search of Isis for Osiris, 
of Ceres for Proserpine, etc. One of the chief fes- 
tivals in the year, a^ with the Druids, was the win- 
ter solstice ; and this being the longest night in the 
year, the Scandinavians assigned to it the formation 
of the world from primeval darkness, and called it 
"Mother Night." This festival was denominated 
" Yule," an,d was a season of universal festivity. 



" A shameful strife, 

A glowing life, 

I weave on the whirring loom of Time, 

The living garment of the Deity." 

Goethe, Faust. 


Knorr. Oabala Denudata. 1677. 

Freystadi. Cabalistische Philosophie. Konigsberg, 1830. 

Frank. La Cabala. Paris, 1843. 

Miinster. Versuch iiber die Alterthiimer der Gnostiker. 

Anspacb, 1790. 
Schmidt. Ueber die Verwandtschaft der Gnostiscli-theo- 

sophischen Lehren mit den Eeligions-Bystemen des 

Orients. Leipsic, 1828. 
Matter. Histoire critique du Gnosticisme. Paris, 1847. 


[T8 Origin.- — The Cabala is the summary 
of the labours of the sects of Judaism, 
and is occupied in the mystical inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures^ and in meta- 
physical speculations concerning the Deity and the 
worlds visible and invisible. The Jews say that it 
was communicated to Moses by God Himself. Now, 
although it is not at all improbable that Moses 
did leave to his successors some secret doctrinesj 
yet the fantastic doctrines of the Cabala con- 
cerning angels and demons are purely Chaldean ; at 
Babylon the Jews ingrafted on Monotheism the 
doctrine of the Two Principles. Danielj the pontiff 
of the Magi and prophet of the Jews, may be con- 
sidered as the chieffounder of the Cabala, which was 

120 Secret Societies. 

conceived at Babylon, and received as the forbidden 
fruit of the strange woman. 

92. Its Progress. — The ancient Jews, indeed, 
had some idea of angels, but did not ascribe to them 
any particular functions, though to each patriarch 
they assigned a special familiar spirit. The Alex- 
andrian School made many additions to that foreign 
importation ; Philo supplemented Daniel. The spe- 
culative portion of the Cabala, whose foundation 
consists in the doctrine of Emanation, was developed 
in that School ; the philosophical systems of Pyth- 
agoras and Plato were combined with Oriental philo- 
sophy, and from these proceeded Gnosticism and 

93. Bate of Cabala. — The first documentary 
promulgation of the Cabala may roughly be stated 
to have taken place within the century before and 
half a century after our era. The greater culture 
of the Jewish people, the supreme tyranny of the 
letter of the law and rabbinical minuteness, furthered 
the spread of occult theology, whose chief text-books 
are the " Sepher-yetzirah," or Book of the Creation, 
probably by Akiba, and the " Zehar," the Book of 
Light, by Simon-ben- Joachai, the St. Thomas of the 
Cabala, whose work contains the sum of that obscure 
and strange system. 

94. The Booh of the Creation. — In this work 
Adam considers the mystery of the universe. In 
his monologue he declares the forces and powers of 

Emanationists. 121 

reason, which attempts to discover the bond which 
unites in a common principle all the elements of 
things ; and in this investigation he adopts a method 
different from the Mosaic. He does not descend 
from God to the creation, but, studying the imi- 
verse, seeking the unity in variety and multiplicity, 
the law in the phenomenon, he ascends from the 
creation to God — a prolific method, but which leads 
the Cabalists to seek fantastic analogies between 
superior and inferior powers, between heaven and 
earth, between the things and the signs of thought. 
Hence arose all the arts of divination and conjura- 
tion, and the most absurd superstitions. Accordiag 
to cabalistic conception, the universe, which to Pyth- 
agoras is a symbol of the mysterious virtues of num- 
bers, is only a marvellous page on which all existing 
things were written by the supreme artificer with 
the first ten numbers and the twenty-two letters 
of the Hebrew alphabet. The ten abstract numbers 
are the general forms of things, the "^ supreme cate-, 
gories of ideas." Thus, number one represents the 
spirit of the living God, the universal generative 
power ; number two is the breath of the animating 
spirit; three is the aqueous, and four the igneous 
principle. The imprint of the letters on the uni- 
verse is indestructible, and is the only character 
that can enable us to discover the Supreme Cause, 
to recompose the name of God, the Logos, written 
on the face of the world. Nor are all the letters 

122 Secret Societies. 

of equal virtue; three, called the mothers hare 
the precedence, and refer to the triads found in 
various physical and mental orders; seven others 
are called double, because from them arise the things 
constantly opposed to one another ; the remaining 
twelve are called simple, and refer to twelve attri- 
butes of man. 

95. Different Kinds of Cabala. — It is of two 
kinds, theoretical and practical. The latter is 
engaged in the construction of talismans and amu- 
lets, and is therefore' totally unworthy of our notice. 
The theoretical is divided into the literal and dog- 
matic. The dogmatic is the summary of the meta- 
physical doctrines taught by the Cabalistic doctors. 
The literal is a mystical mode of explaining sacred 
things by a peculiar use of the letters of words. 
This literal Cabala is again subdivided into three 
branches, the first considering words according to 
the numerical value of the letters composing them. 
This branch is called Gematria, and for an example 
of it the reader is referred to Mithras (29,) the 
name of the sun, whose letters make up the number 
365, the number of days during which the sun 
performs his course. The second branch is called 
Notaricon, and is a mode of constructing one word 
out of the initials or finals of many. Thus, of the 
sentence in Deut. xxx. 12, " "Who shall go up for 
us to heaven?" in Hebrew noiawn dV nVp' 'o, the 
initial letters of each word are taken to form the 

Emanationists. 123 

wordj nV'O, "circumcision." The third mode ia 
called Temura, or permutation of letters, such as is 
familiarly known as an anagram. 

96. Visions of Hzekiel. — Cabalistic terms and 
inventions, not destitute of poetic ideas, lent them- 
selves to the requirements of the mystics, sectaries, 
and alchymists. It suffices to consider that portion 
of the system whose object is the study of the 
visions of Ezekiel, to form an idea of the fantastic 
and mythological wealth of the Cabala. 

In the visions of Ezekiel God is seated on a 
throne, surrounded with strange winged figures — 
the man, the buU, the lion, and the eagle, four zodi- 
acal signs, like "the glory which he saw by the river 
of Chebar,^' that is, among the Chaldeans, famous 
for their astronomical knowledge. The rabbis call 
■the visions the description of the celestial car, and 
discover therein profound mysteries. Maimonides 
reduced those visions to the astronomical ideas of 
his time ; the Cabala surrounded them with its innu- 
merable hosts of angels. Besides the angels that 
preside over the stars, elements, virtues, vices, 
passions, the lower world is peopled by genii of both 
sexes, holding a position between angels and men — 
the elemental spirits of the Rosicrucians. The 
good angels are under the command of Metatron, 
also called Sar Happanim, the angel of the Divine 
countenance. The evil angels are subject to Samuel, 
or Satan, the angel of death. Besides the Indian 

124 Secret Societies. 

metempsycliosis the Cabalists admit another, which 
they call " impregnation," consisting in a union of 
several souls in one body, which takes place when 
any soul needs the assistance of others to attain to 
the beatific vision. 

97. The Creation out of Nothing. — The primitive 
Being is called the Ancient of Days, the ancient 
Ring of Light, incomprehensible, infinite, eternal, a 
closed eye. Before he manifested himself all things 
were in him, and he was called The Nothing, the 
Zero-world (9) . Before the creation of the world 
the primitive light of God, Nothing, filled all, so that 
there was no void; but when the Supreme Being 
determined to manifest His perfections. He withdrew 
into Himself, and let go forth the first emanation, a 
ray of light, which is the cause and beginning of all 
that exists, and combines the generative and con- 
ceptive forces. He commenced by forming an im- 
perceptible point, the point-world ; then with that 
thought He constructed a holy and mysterious 
form, and finally covered it with a rich vestment — 
the universe. From the generative and conceptive 
forces issued forth the first-born of God, the uni- 
versal form, the creator, preserver, and animating 
principle of the world, Adam Kadmon, called the 
macrocosm ; whilst man, born out of and living in it, 
and comprising, in fact, what the typical or celestial 
man comprises potentially, is called the microcosm. 
But before the Busoph or Infinite revealed Himself 

Emdnationists. 125 

in that form of the primitiye man, other emanations, 
other worlds, had succeeded each other, which were 
called " sparks," which grew fainter the more distant 
they were from the centre of emanation. Around 
Adam Kadmon were formed the countless circles of 
posterior emanations, which are not beings having 
a life of their own, but attributes of God, vessels of 
omnipotence, types of creation. The ten emana- 
tions from Adam Kadmon are called Sephiroth, 
the " powers " of Philo, and the " aeons " of the 

98. Diffusion of Oabalistia Ideas. — Cabalistic ideas 
spread far and wide. In the middle ages we meet 
with them in a great number of strange practices 
and ceremonies. I will here merely allude to one, 
because it explains a sign stiU in use in many parts 
of the Continent. The double triangle (18) was 
regarded by the Jews as a cabalistic figure, to which 
they attributed the power of averting fire. Hence 
the German Jews in the middle ages placed it over 
the entrances of aU their workshops and factories. 
Its use was afterwards restricted to breweries. Now 
it is the sign of beerhouses ; whilst the pine branch, 
which is the ancient thyrsus, announces the sale of 

Without specifying how much the philosophic 
systems of Spinoza and Schelling are indebted to 
them, and without speaking of the Hebrew sects 
still existing — which ipay be considered as the 

126 Secret Societies. 

sequels of the Cabalistic school, and which include 
that of the " New Saints," founded by Israel, called 
the Thaumaturgist, in Podolia, in 1740, and that of 
the " Zohariti," the Illuminated, founded by Jacob 
Franck, who attempted, by a kind of philosophical 
syncretism, to reconcile the ancient and the modern 
revelation, — ^we meet with Cabalistic ideas in the 
most lasting superstitions, in the Schools, Academies, 
and Masonic Lodges. The rituals of the Mystics, 
Freemasons, Illuminati, and Carbonari, abound 
with them, as I shall successively point out. 



\HABAGTEE of Ghiosticism.— The lead- 
ing ideas of Platonism are also found in 
the tenets of the Gnostics, and they con- 
tinued, during the second and third 
centuries, the schools that raised a barrier between 
recondite philosophy and vulgar superstition. Under 
this aspect Gnosticism is the most universal heresy, 
the mother of many posterior heresies, even of 
Arianism, and reappears among the 3,lchymists, 
mystics, and modern transcendentalists. 

100 . Doctrines . — The Gnostics assumed an infinite, 
invisible Being, an abyss of darkness, who, imable 
to remain inactive, diffused himself in emanations, 
decreasing in ■perfection the further they were re- 
moved from the centre that produced them. They 
had their grand triad, whose personifications, 

128 Secret Societies. 

Matter, the Demiurgus, and the Saviour, comprised 
and represented the history of mankind and of the 
world. The superior emanations, partakers of the 
attributes of the Divine essence, are the " aeons," 
distributed in classes, according to symbolical num- 
bers. Their union forms the "pleroma," or the ful- 
ness of intelligence. The last and most imperfect 
emanation of the pleroma, according to one of the 
two grand divisions of Gnosticism, is the Demiurgus, 
a balance of light and darkness, of strength and 
weakness, who, without the concurrence of the un- 
known Father, produces this world, there imprison- 
ing the souls, for he is the primary evil, opposed to 
the primary good. He encumbers the souls with 
matter, from which they are redeemed by Christ, one 
of the sublime powers of the pleroma, the Divine 
thought, intelligence, the spirit. For humanity is 
destined to raise itself again from the material to 
the spiritual Hfe ; to free itself from nature, and to 
govern it, and to live again in immortal beauty. 

According to the other party of the Gnostics, the 
Demiurgus was the representative and organ of the 
highest God, who was placed by the Divine will 
especially over the Jewish people, as their Jehovah. 
Men are divided into three classes : the terrestrial 
men, of the earth earthy, tied and bound by matter; 
the spiritual men, the Pneumatikoi, who attain to 
the Divine light ; the Psychikoi, who only rise up 
to the Demiurgus. The Jews, subject to Jehovah, 

The Gnostics. 129 

were Psychikoi j the Pagans were Terrestrial men ; 
the true Christians or Gnostics, Pneumatikoi. 

101. Development of Gnosticism.—Simon Magus ; 
Menander, his successor ; Cerinthus, the apostle of 
the Millennium, and some others who lived in the 
first century, are looked upon as the founders of 
Gnosticism, which soon divided into as many sects 
as there arose apostles. This may be called the 
obscure period of Gnosticism. But at the begin- 
ning of the second century the sect of Basilides of 
Alexandria arose, and with it various centres of 
Gnosticism in Egypt, Syria, Eome, Spain, &c. 
Basilides assumed 365 aeons or cycles of creation, 
which were expressed by the word ahraxas, whose 
letters, according to their numerical value in Greek, 
produce the number 365. By "abraxas" was meant, 
in its deeper sense, the Supreme God; but the 
reader will at once detect the astronomical bearing, 
and remember the words Mithras and Belenus, 
which also severally represent that number, and the 
Supreme God, viz. the sun. Valentinus also is 
a famous Gnostic, whose fundamental doctrine is 
that all men shall be restored to their primeval 
state of perfection ; that matter, the refuge of evil, 
shall be consumed by fire, which is also the doc- 
trine of Zoroaster, and that the spirits in perfect 
maturity shall ascend into the pleroma, there to 
enjoy all the delights of a perfect union with their 
companions. Prom the Valentinians sprang the 


130 Secret Societies. 

Ophites, calling themselves so after the serpent that 
by tempting Eve brought into the world the bles- 
sings of knowledge ; and the Cainites, who main- 
tained that Cain had been the first Gnostic in oppo- 
sition to the blind, unreasoning faith of Abel, and 
therefore persecuted by the Demiurgus, Jehovah. 
The Antitacts (opponents to the* law), like the 
Ishmaelites at a later period, taught their adepts 
hatred against all positive religions and laws. The 
Adamites looked upon marriage as the fruit of sin ; 
they called their lascivious initiation " paradise ; " 
held all indulgence in carnal delights lawful, and 
advocated the abolition of dress. The Pepuzians 
varied their initiations with the apparition of phan- 
tasms, among whom was a woman crowned with the 
sun and twelve stars, and having the moon under 
her feet — the Isis of Egypt and the Ceres of Greece. 
They found in the Apocalypse aU their initiatory 
terminology. A Gnostic stone, represented in the 
work of Chifflet, shows seven stars of equal size 
with a larger one above ; these probably mean the 
seven planets and the sun. There are, moreover, 
figured on it a pair of compasses, a square, and 
other geometrical emblems. Thus all religious 
initiations are ever reducible to astronomy and 
natural phenomena. 

102. Spirit of Onosticism. — The widely opposite 
ideas of polytheism, pantheism, monotheism, the 
philosophical systems of Plato, Pythagoras, Hera- 

The Gnostics. 131 

clituSj together with the mysticism and demonology 
that after the Jewish captivity created the Cabala — 
all these went towards forming Gnosticism. And 
the aristocracy of mind, powerful and numerous as 
none had ever been before, that arose in the first 
centuries of our era, even when adopting the new 
faith, could not but loathe the thought of sharing it 
completely with the crowd of freed and unfreed 
slaves around them — -with the low and poor in 
spirit! The exclpsiveness of Gnosticism was un- 
doubtedly, next to the attractiveness of its dogmas, 
one of the chief reasons of its rapid propagation 
and its lasting influence on modern religious 



Les croiseSj pendant leur sejour en Orient, ont etudie 
toutes les variantes qui caraoteriserent les sectes chre- 
tiennes. lis se sont attaches aux doctrines des gnosticiens 
et des manicheens, qui leur paraissaient moins alterees que 
celle des prStrea de Eome. — Eagon. 


Wolf. ManichEeismus ante Manichaeos. Hamburg, 1707. 
Baur. Sur le Manicheisme des Cathares. Tubingen, 1831. 
Millot. Vie des Troubadoiirs. 
Fabre d' Olivet. Poesies occitaniques du xiil' siecle. 

Paris, 1803. 
Biez. Die Poesie der Troubadours. Zwickau, 1826. 
Binawx. Les Trouveurs de la Handre et du Toumaisan. 

Paris, 1839. 
Hawiel. Histoire de la Poesie provengale. 
Galvani. Osservazioni sulla Poesia de' Trovatori. Mo- 

dena, 1839. 
Schmidt. Geschichte der Albigenser. 
Biisching. Eitterzeit und Eitterwesen. Leipsic, 1823. 
Mills. History of Chivalry. London, 1825. 
Aroux. Les Mysteres de la Ohevalerie. Paris, 1858. 



IBIGIN of Religion of Love. — ^A Persian 
slavBj whose powerful ' imagination 
brought forth a desolating doctrinej 
but extraordinary by originality of in- 
vention and variety of episodes, three centuries 
after the appearance of Christ, and when Orientalism 
was on the point of disappearing from the West, 
founded a theogony and instituted a ' sect which 
revived Eastern influence in Europe, and by means 
of the Crusades spread schism and revolt through- 
out the Catholic world. The action of this rebel- 
lious disciple of Zoroaster, of this restorer of the 
ancient faith of the Magi, mixed with Christian 
forms and Gnostic symbols, had an extension and 
duration which, though called in doubt by the past, 
modern criticism discovers in the intrinsic phi- 

136 Secret Societies. 

losopliy of a great part of the sects formed in the 
bosom of Catholicism. At the head of this gigantic 
movement of intelligence and conscience, which 
devoted itself to the most singular superstitions in 
order to shake off the yoke of Rome, are Gnosticism 
and Manichseism, Oriental sects, the last and glorious 
advance of a theogony, which, seeing the rule of so 
large a portion of the earth pass away from itself, 
undertook to recover it with mysteries and the 
evocation of poetic phantoms. 

104. Manes. — Manes, redeemed from slavery by 
a rich Persian widow, whence he was called the 
" son of the widow," and his disciples " sons of the 
widow," of prepossessing aspect, learned in the 
Alexandrian philosophy, initiated into the Mithraic 
mysteries, traversed the regions of India, touched 
on the confines of China, studied the evangelical 
doctrines, and so lived in the midst of many 
religious systems, deriving light from all, and 
satisfied by none. He was born at a propitious 
moment, and his temperament fitted him for ardu- 
ous and fantastic undertakings and schemes. 
Possessing great penetration and an inflexible wiU, 
he comprehended the expansive force of Chris- 
tianity, and resolved to profit thereby, masking 
Gnostic and Cabalistic ideas under Christian names 
and rites. In order to establish this Christian 
revelation, he caUed himself the Paraclete an- 
nounced by Christ to His disciples, attributing to 

Sons of the Widow. 137 

timself, in the Gnostic manner, a great superiority 
over the Apostles, rejecting the Old Testament, 
and allowing to the sages of the pagans a philo- 
sophy superior to Judaism, 

105. Manichceism. — The dismal conceptions of a 
dualism, pure and simple, the eternity and absolute 
evil of matter, the non-resurrection of the body, 
the perpetuity of the principle of evil, — these preside 
over the compound that took its name from him, 
and confound Mithras with Christ, the Gospel with 
the Zend-Avesta, Magism with Judaism. The 
Unknown Father, the Infinite Being, of Zoroaster, 
is entirely rejected by Manes, who divides the uni- 
verse into two dominions, that of light, and that of 
darkness, irreconcilable, whereof one is superior to 
the other ; but, great difference, the first, instead 
of conquering the latter into goodness, reduces it 
to impotence, conquers, but does not subdue or 
convince it. The God of light has innumerable 
legions of combatants (aeons), at whose head are 
twelve superior angels, corresponding with the 
twelve signs of the zodiac. Satanic matter is 
surrounded by a similar host, which, having been 
captivated by the charms of the light, endeavours 
to conquer it ; wherefore the head of the celestial 
kingdom, in order to obviate this danger, infuses 
life into a new power, and appoints it to watch 
the frontiers of heaven. That power is called the 
" Mother of Life," and is the soul of the world. 

138 Secret Societies. 

the " Divine," the primitive thought of the Supreme 
EnSj the heavenly " Sophia" of the Gnostics. As 
a direct emanation of the Eternal it is too pure to 
unite with matter, but a son is born unto it, the 
first man, who initiates the great struggle with the 
demons. When the strength of the man fails him, 
the " Living Spirit " comes to his assistance, and, 
having led him back to the kingdom of hght, raises 
above the world that part of the celestial soul not 
contaminated by contact with the demons — a per- 
fectly pure soul, the Redeemer, the Christ, who 
attracts to Himself and frees from matter the Ught 
and soul of the first man. In these abstruse doctrines 
lies concealed the Mithraic worship of the sun. The 
followers of Manes were divided into " Elect " and 
" Listeners ; " the former had to renounce every 
corporeal enjoyment, everything that can darken the 
celestial light in us ; the second were less vigorously 
treated. Both might attain immortality by means 
of purification iu an ample lake placed in the moon 
(the baptism of celestial water), and sanctification 
in the solar fire (the baptism of celestial fire) , where 
reside the Redeemer and the blessed spirits. 

106. lAfe of Manes. — The career of Manes was 
chequered and stormy, a foreshadowing of the 
tempests that were to arise against his sect. After 
having enjoyed the unstable favour of the Court, 
and acquired the fame of a great physician, he found 
himself unable to save the life of one of the sons of 

Sons of the Widow. 139 

the prince. He was consequently exiled, and roved 
through Turkestan, Hindostan, and the Chinese 
empire. He dwelt for one year in a cave, living on 
herbs, during which time his followers, having re- 
ceived no news from him, said that he had ascended 
to heaven, and were believed, not only by the 
" Listeners," but by the people. The new prince 
recalled him to court, showered honours on him, 
erected a sumptuous palace for him, and consulted 
him on aU state affairs. But the successor of this 
second prince made him pay dearly for this short 
happiness, for he put him to a cruel death. 

107. Progress of Manichceism. — The government 
of the sect already existing with degrees, initiatory 
rites, signs and pass-words, was continued by astute 
chiefs, who more and more attracted to themselves 
the Christians by the use of orthodox language, 
Tna. Vin g them beUeve that their object was to recall 
Christianity to its first purity. But the sect was 
odious to the Church of Rome, because it had issued 
from rival Persia ; and so for two hundred years it 
was banished from the empire, and the Theodosian 
Codex is full of laws against it. Towards the end 
of the fourth century it spread in Africa and Spain. 
It had peace and flourished under the mother of 
the Emperor Anastasius (491-518) ; but Justin 
renewed the persecution. Changing its name, seat, 
and figurative language, it spread in Bulgaria, Lom- 
bardy (Patarini) , France (Cathari, Albigenseg, &c.) , 

140 Secret Societies. 

miited witli the Saracens and openly made war upon 
the Emperor, and its followers perished by 'thou- 
sands in battle and at .the stake ; and from its secular 
trunk sprang the so-called heresies of the Hussites 
and WyckUffiteSj which opened the way for Pro- 
testantism. In those gloomy middle ages, in fact, 
arose those countless legions of sectaries, bound by 
a common pact, whose existence only then becomes 
manifest when the sinister light of the burning pile 
flashes through the darkness in which they conceal 
themselves. The Freemasons undoubtedly, through 
the Templars, inherited no small portion of their 
ritual from them ; they were very numerous in all 
the courts, and even in the dome of St. Peter, and 
baptized in blood with new denominations and 

108. Doctrines, — The sacred language of Mani- 
chseism was most glowing, and founded on that 
concert of voices and ideas, called in Pythagorean 
phraseology the " harmony of the spheres," which 
established a connection between the mystic degrees 
and the figured spheres by means of conventional 
terms and images ; and it is known that the Albi- 
genses and Patarini recognized each other by signs. 
A Provencal Patarino, who had fled to Italy in 
1240, everywhere met with a friendly reception, - 
revealing himself to the brethren by means of con- 
ventional phrases. He everywhere found the sect 
admirably organized, with churches, bishops, and 

Sons of the Widow. 141 

apostles of the most active propaganda, who over- 
ran France, Germany, and England. The Mani- 
chaean language, moreover, was ascetic, and loving, 
and Christian ; but the neophyte, after having once 
entered the sect, was carried beyond, and gradually 
aKenated from the Papal Church. The mysteries 
had two chief objects in view — that of leading the 
neophyte, by first insensibly changing his former 
opinions and dispositions, and then of gradually 
instructing him in the conventional language, which, 
being complicated and varied, required much study 
and much time. But not all were admitted to the 
highest degrees. Those that turned hack, or could 
not renounce former ideas, remained always in the 
Church, and were not introduced into the sanctuary. 
These were simple Christians and sincere listeners, 
who, out of zeal for reform, often encountered 
death, as, for instance, the canons of Orleans, who 
were condemned to the stake by King Eobert in 
1022. But those who did not turn back were 
initiated into all those things which it was im- 
portant should be known to the most faithful mem- 
bers of the sect. The destruction of Eome, and the 
establishment of the heavenly Jerusalem spoken of 
in the Apocalypse, were the chief objects aimed at. 
109. Spread of Beligion of Love. — The religion 
of love did not end with the massacre of the Alhi- 
genses, nor were its last echoes the songs of the 
troubadours ; for we meet with it in a German sect 

142 Secret Societies. 

which in 1550 pretended to receive a supernatural 
light from the Holy Spirit. In Holland, also, a sect 
of Christians arose in 1580, called the " Family of 
Love," which spread to England, where it published 
many books, and flourished about the time of 
Cromwell, and seems to have had some connection 
with the Puritans. 



\IiANSITION from Ancient to Modern 
Initiations. — An order of facts now, 
claims our attention which in a certain 
manner signalizes the transition from 
ancient to modern initiations. An extraordinary 
phenomenon in social conditions becomes apparent, 
so strikingly different from what we meet with in 
antiquity as to present itself as a new starting 
point, Hitherto we have seen the secret organizing 
itself in the higher social classes, so as to deprive 
the multitude of truths whose revelation could not 
have taken place without injury and danger to the 
hierarchy. At the base we find polytheism, super- 
stition ; at the summit deism, rationalism, the most 
abstract philosophy. Truly those peoples were to 
be pitied, who, slaves of ignorance and corruption. 

144 Secret Societies. 

ereoted vdth their own hands the prisons of truth 
and the temples of imposture^ who adored idols 
and idolized form, superficiality, and appearance. 

111. Spirit of Ancient Secret Societies. — The 
secret societies of antiquity were theological, and 
theology frequently inculcated superstition ; but in 
the deepest recesses of the sanctuary there was a 
place where it would laugh at itself and the deluded 
people, and draw to itself the intelligences that re- 
belled agaiast the servitude of fear, by initiating 
them into the only "creed worthy of a free man. To 
that theology, therefore, otherwise very learned and 
not cruel, and that promoted art and science, much 
may be forgiven, attributing perhaps not to base 
calculation, but to sincere conviction and thought- 
ful prudence, the dissimulation with which it con- 
cealed the treasures of truth and knowledge, that 
formed its power, glory, and, in a certain manner, 
its privilege. 

112. Spirit of Modern Societies. — In modem 
times the high religious and political spheres have 
no secrets, for they have no privilege of knowledge, 
nor initiations which confer on those higher in 
knowledge the right to sit on the seat of the mighty. 

113. Cause and Progress of Heresy. — But the 
pyramid was overthrown ; the lofty summit feU, and 
the ample massive base became visible, and no one, 
without being guilty of an anachronism and pre- 
paring for himself bitter disappointments, can seek 

The Gay Science. 145 

the truth where there is but a delusive show of 
truth. Whoever persists in making any menda- 
cious, height the object of his ambition, removes his 
eyes from the horizon which, lit up by the dawn, 
casts light around his feet, while his head is yet in 
darkness. Henceforth secret societies are popular 
and religious, not in the sense of the constituted 
and official church, but of a rebellious and sectarian 
church ; and since at a period when the authority 
of the church is paramount, and religion circulates 
through an the veins of the state, no change can be 
effected without heresy, so this must necessarily be 
the first aspect of political and intellectual revolt. 
This heresy makes use of the denial and rejection 
of official dogmas in order to overthrow the hated 
clerocracy, and to open for itself a road to civil 

114. Efforts and Infiuenae of Heretics. — The 
Papacy was necessarily the first cradle of the new 
conspirators, and from the heresies arose the sects, 
of which none was more extensive and active than 
the Albigenses. This great fact of opposition and 
reaction has no parallel in antiquity, where the 
very schools of philosophy adopted the forms of the 
mysteries ; and it is a fact which imparts an im- 
mense momentum to modern history, and surrounds 
with lustre popular movements and personalities. 
This great energy proceeded from heretical and 
sectarian schools, and struggled in the dark to 

146 Secret Societies. 

conquer in the light. The sect of the Albigenses, 
the offspring of Manichseism, fructified in its turn 
the germs of the Templars and Eosicrucians, and of 
all those associations that continued the struggle 
and fought against ecclesiastical and civil oppression. 

115. The Albigenses. — It is to be noticed that 
the object of the Albigenses in so far differed from 
that of all posterior sects, that its blows were in- 
tended for Papal Rome alone ; and wholly Papal 
was the revenge taken through the civil arm, 
and with priestly rage. The Albigenses were the 
'GhibeUines of France, and combined with all who 
were opposed to Rome, especially with Frederick 
II. and the Arragonese, in maintaining the rights of 
kings against the pretensions of the Papal See. 
Their doctrines had a special influence on the Uni- 
versity of Bologna, wholly imperial ; Dante was im- 
perialistic, tainted with that doctrine, and there- 
fore hated by the Guelphs. 

116. Tenets of Albigenses. — Toulouse was the Rome 
of that church which had its pastors, bishops, pro- 
vincial and general councils, like the official church, 
and assembled under its banners the dissenters of a 
great portion of Europe, all meditating the ruin of 
Rome and the restoration of the kingdom of Jerusa- 
lem. The rising in Provence gathered strength 
from the circumstances in which it took place. The 
Crusaders had revived eastern ManichEeism, placing 
Europe in immediate contact with sophisticated 

The Gay Science. 147 

Greece, and Mahomedan and Pantheistic Asia. 
The Bastj moreover, contributed Aristotle and hia 
Arab commentators, to which must be added the 
subtleties of the cabala and the materialism of ideas. 
Philosophy, republicanism, and industry assailed the 
Holy See. Various isolated rebellions had revealed 
the general spirit, and wholesale slaughter had not 
repressed it ; the rationalism of the Waldensea con- 
nected itself with the German mysticism of the 
Ehine and the Netherlands, where the operatives 
rose against the counts and the bishops. Every 
apostle that preached pure morality, the religion of 
the spirit, the restoration ofthe primitive church, 
found followers ; the century of Saint Louis is the 
century of unbelief in the Church of Eome, and 
the Impossibilia of Sigero foreshadowed those of 

117. Aims of Alhigenses. — The heresy of the 
Albigenses made such progress along the shores 
of the Mediterranean that several countries seemed to 
separate from Rome, whilst princes and emperors 
openly favoured it. Not satisfied with already consi- 
dering impious Rome overthrown, the Albigenses 
suddenly turned towards the Crusaders, at first 
looked at with indifference, hoping to make Jeru- 
salem the glorious and powerful rival of Rome, 
there to establish the seat of the Albigenses, to 
restore the religion of love in its first home, to 
found on earth the heavenly Jerusalem,, of which 

148 Secret Societies. 

Godfrey of Bouillon was proclaimed king. This 
was the man who had carried fire and sword into 
Rome, slain the anti-Offisar Rodolphe, "the king of 
the priests," and thrust the Pope out of the holy- 
city, deserving thereby, and by the hopes entertained 
of him, the infinite praises for his piety, purity, and 
chastity, bestowed on him by the troubadours, who 
originally appeared in the first quarter of the twelfth 
century, in the allegorical compositions known by 
the name of the " Knight of the Swan." It was a 
project which assigned an important part to the Tem- 
plars, who perhaps were aware of and sharers in it. 
118. Religion of the Troubadours. — Troubadours 
and Albigenses drew closer together in persecution; 
their friendship increased in the school of sorrow. 
They sang and fought for one another, and their 
songs expired on the blazing piles ; wherefore it 
appears reasonable to consider the troubadours as 
the organizers of that vast conspiracy directed against 
the Church of Rome, the champions of a revolt 
which had not for its guide and object material 
interests and vulgar ambition, but a rehgion and a 
polity of love. Here love is considered, not as an 
affection which all more or less experience and un- 
derstand, but as an art, a science, acquired by 
means of the study and practice of sectarian rites 
and laws ; and the artists under various names 
appear scattered throughout many parts of Europe. 
It is difficult, indeed, to determine the boundaries 

The Gay Science. 149 

witMn whiclL the Gay Science was diffused. The 
singers of love are met with as the troubadours of 
the Langue d'Oc and the Langue d'Oil, the minne- 
sangers and minstrels. 

119. Difficulty to understand the Troubadours. — 
The singers of Provence — whose language was by 
the Popes called the language of heresy — are nearly 
unintelligible to us^ and we know not how to justify 
the praises bestowed upon their poetry by such 
men as DantOj Petrarchj Chaucer ; nor dare we, 
since we do not understand their verses, call their 
inspiration madness, nor deny them the success 
they undoubtedly achieved. It appears more easy 
and natural to think that those free champions of a 
heresy who were not permitted clearly to express 
their ideas, preferred the obscure turns of poetry and 
Hght forms that concealed their thoughts, as the 
sumptuous and festive courts of love perhaps con- 
cealed the " Lodges " of the Albigenses from the 
eyes of the Papal Inquisition. The same was done 
for political purposes at various periods. Thus we 
have Gringore's La Ohasse du Oerf des Gerfs (a pun 
designating Pope Julius II., by allusion to the servus 
servorvm) , in which that Pope is held up to ridicule. 

120. Poetry of Troubadours. — Arnaldo DanieUo 
was obscure even for his contemporaries ; according 
to the Monk of Montaudon, " no one understands 
his songs," and yet Dante and Petrarch praise him 
above every other Provencal poet, calHng him the 

150 Secret Societies. 

" great Master of Love," perhaps a title of secta- 
rian dignity, and extolling Ms style, whicli they 
would not have done had they not been able to 
decipher his meaning. The effusions of the Trou- 
badours were always addressed to some lady, though 
they dared not reveal her name; what Hugo de 
Brunet says applies to all : " If I be asked to whom 
my songs are addressed, I keep it a secret. I pre- 
tend to such a one, but it is nothing of the kind." 
The mistress invoked, there can be no doubt, like 
Dante^s Beatrice, was the purified religion of love, 
personified as the Virgin Sophia. 

121. Degrees among Troubadours. — ^There were 
four degrees, but the " Romance of the Rose " 
divides them into four and three, producing again 
the mystic number seven. This poem describes a 
castle, surrounded with a sevenfold wall, which is 
covered with emblematical figures, and no one was 
admitted into the castle that could not explain their 
mysterious meaning. The troubadours also had 
their secret signs of recognition, and the "minstrels" 
are supposed to have been so called because they 
were the " ministers " of a secret worship. 

122. Courts of Love. — I have already alluded to 
these; they probably gave rise to the Lodges of 
Adoption, the Knights and Wymphs of the Rose 
&c. {which see) . The decrees pronounced therein 
with pedantic proceedings, literally interpreted, are 
frivolous or immoral; and therefore incompatible 

The Gay Science. 


with the morals and manners of the Albigenses, 
which were on the whole pure and austere. The 
.Courts of Lore may therefore have concealed far 
sterner objects than the decision of questions of mere 
gallantry ; and it is noticeable that these courts, as 
well as the race of troubadours, become extinct with 
the extinction of the Albigenses by the sword of 
De Montfort and the fagots of the Inquisition. 

III. , 


ISTOBIGAL Notices.— lUlj, though 
watched by Rome, nay^ because watched, 
supported the new doctrines. Milan 
was one of the most active foci of the 
Cathari; in 1166 that city was more heretical 
than catholic. In 1150 there were Cathari at Flo- 
rence, and the women especially were most energetic 
in the dissemination of the dogmas of the sect 
which became so powerful as to effect in the city 
a revolution in favour of the GhibeUines. At 
Orvieto Catharism prevailed in 1125, and was per- 
secuted in 1163 ; the persecution was most fierce at 
Verona, Ferrara, Modena, &o. In 1224 a great 
number of these sectaries met in Calabria and 
Naples, and even Rome was full of them. But 
Lombardy and Tuscany were always the chief seats 
of this revolt. 

124. Doctrines and Tenets. — But we have only 

The Consolation. 153 

scanty notices of this sect^ becausOj unlike other 
heretical associations, it sought to conceal its opera- 
tions. It bore great resemblance to Manichseism 
and the dogmas of the Albigenses, like which latter, 
it concealed its doctrines not only from the world 
at large, but even from its proselytes of inferior 
degrees. They believed in the metempsychosis, 
assuming that to attain to the Hght, seven such 
transmigrations were required; but, as in other 
cases, this was probably an emblematic manner of 
speaking of the degrees of initiation. They had 
communistic tendencies, and were averse to mar- 
riage ; philanthropists, above all they led industrious 
lives, combined saving habits with charity, founded 
■schools and hospitals, crossed lands and seas to 
make proselytes, denied to magistrates the right 
of taking away Hfe, did not disapprove of suicide, 
and preceded the Templars in their contempt of the 
cross. They could not understand how Christians 
could adore the instrument of the death of the Saviour, 
and said that the cross was the figure of the beast 
mentioned in the Apocalypse and an abomination 
in a holy place. They performed their ceremonies 
in woods, caverns, remote valleys ; wherefore those 
belonging to this heresy and others deriving from 
it could well answer the question : Where' did our 
ancient brethren meet before there were any lodges ? 
In every place. They were accused of strangling 
or starving the dying, and of burning children; 

154 Secret Societies. 

charges also brought against the Mithraics, Christ- 
ians, Gnostics, Jews, and quite recently against 
the Irish Roman Catholics. The accusation, as in 
the other cases, probably arose from some symbolical 
sacrifice, literally interpreted by their opponents. 
They had four sacraments, and the consolation con- 
sisted in the imposition of hands, or baptism of 
the Holy Spirit; which, bestowed only on adults, 
remitted sins, imparted the consoling spirit, and 
secured eternal salvation. During persecutions the 
ceremonies were shortened and were held at night 
and secretly; the lighted tapers symbolized the 
baptism of fire. At the ceremony of initiation the 
priest read the first eighteen verses of the gospel 
of St. John, a custom stiU. practised in some masonic 
degrees. In remembrance of his initiation the 
novice received a garment made of fine linen and 
wool, which he wore under his shirt ; the women a 
girdle, which they also wore next to the skin just 
under the bosom. 



i^BIGINAL Aim. — An idea of conserva- 
tion and propagandism produced the 
association of the San Greal, whose 
members professed to be in search of 
the vase of truth, which once contained the blood 
of the Eedeemer ; or, to leave metaphorical lan- 
guage, to bring back the Christian Church to apo- 
stoUc times, to the true observance of the precepts of 
the gospel. At the Eound Table, a perfect figure, 
which admitted neither of first nor of last, sat the 
Knights, who did not attain to that rank and dis- 
tinction but after many severe trials. Their de- 
grees at first were three, which were afterwards 
raised to seven, and finally, at the epoch of their 
presumed fusion with the Albigenses, Templars and 
Ghibellines, to thirty-three. The chief grades, how- 
ever, may be said to have been — 1, Page ; 2, Squire; 
3, Knight. 

156 Secret Societies. 

126. Knights the Military Apostles of the Religion 
of Love.- — This association was above all a proud 
family of apostles and missionaries of the Religion 
of Love, military troubadours, who, under the stan- 
dards of justice and right, fought against the mon- 
strous abuses of the Theocratic regime, consoled the 
" widow " — perhaps the Gnostic Churcli — protected 
the " sons of the widow " — the followers of Manes 
— and overthrew giants and dragons, inquisitors 
and churchmen. The powerful voice of the furious 
Eoland, which made breaches in the granite rocks 
of the mountaius, is the voice of that so-called 
heresy which found its way into Spain, thus antici- 
pating the saying of Louis XIV., "There are no 
longer any Pyrenees.^^ This may seem a startling 
assertion, but it is nevertheless true. Of course I 
do not now speak' of the chivalry of feudal times, 
but of that which existed even before the eleventh 
century, 'that issued from the womb of Manichseism 
and Catharism, and was altogether hostile to Rome. 
But even at that period the Papal church acted on 
the principle afterwards so fully carried out by the 
Jesuits, of directing what they could not suppress ; 
and having nothing more to fear than spiritualism, 
whether mystical, Platonic, or chivalric, Rome, in- 
stead of opposing its current, cunningly turned it 
into channels where, instead of being destructive to 
the Papacy, it became of infinite advantage to it. 

127. Tenets and Doctrines. — Those who com- 

Chivalry. 157 

posed the romances of the Ronad Table -and the San 
Greal were well acquainted with the Gallic triads, 
the mysteries of the theological doctrines of the 
Bards and Celtic myths. These romances have their 
origin in the phenomena of the natural world, and 
the San Greal is only a diminutive Noah^s Ark. 
From Chaucer's " Testament of Love," which seems 
founded on the " Consolation of Philosophy," by 
Boethius, it has been supposed that the love of 
chivalry was the love of woman, in- its highest, 
noblest, and most spiritualized aspect. But the 
lady-love of the knight in the early period of chi- 
valry was the Virgin Sophia, or philosophy personi- 
fied. The phraseology employed in the rites of 
initiation, the religious vows taken on that occasion, 
the tonsure to which the knights submitted, with 
many other circumstances, sufficiently indicate that 
the love so constantly spoken of has no reference to 
earthly love. This applies especially to the knights 
who may be called Voluntary Knights, and whose 
charter is the curious book called " Las Siete Parti- 
das," by Alfonso, King of Castile and Leon. Their 
statutes greatly resembled those of the Templars 
and Hospitallers ; they were more than any other a 
religious order, bound to very strict lives; their 
clothes were of three colours, and^strange coinci- 
dence — analogous with those with which Dante 
beheld Beatrice clothed, and the three circles he 
describes towards the end of " Paradise." They had 

158 Secret Societies. 

two meals a day, and drank only water, a regimen 
scarcely fit for a militia whose duties were not 
always spiritual; for, besides their special duties, 
they were also subject to all the rules of chivalry, 
and bound to protect the weak against the strong, 
to restore peace where it had been disturbed, to 
serve their body (the Lodge), and protect the 
(evangelical) religioiL They are said to have 
branded their right arms in sign of their fraternity; 
but this is perhaps only a figure of the baptism of 
fire and the Spirit, one of the most essential rites 
of the Religion of Love. 



And he will be a wild man ; Ms hand will be against 
every man, and every man's hand against him. 

Gen. xvi. 12. 


Mahrizi. Description of Egypt and Cairo. 

Saay. ChrestomatMe Arabe. 

Pococke. Spec. Hist. Arab. Edit. WHte. 

Ha/mmier. Origin, Power, and Eall of the Assassins. 

Malcolm.. History of Persia. 

Bousseau. Memoires snr lea Ismaelites. 

Silv. de 8acy. Expose de la Eeligion des Druses. Paris 

Wolff. Drusen und ibre Vorlaufer. London, 1856. 


h.ABIOUS Sects sprung from Manichceism. 
— Manichseisin was not the only secret 
association that sprang from the initia- 
tions of the Magi. In the seventh 
century of our era we meet with similar societiesj 
possessing an influence not limited to the regions in 
which they arosOj variations of one single thought^ 
which aimed at combining the venerable doctrines 
•of Zoroaster with Christian belief. Of these 
societies or sects the following may be mentioned : 
the followers of Keyoumerz ; the worshippers of 
Servan, infinite time^ the creator and mover of all 
things ; disciples of Zoroaster properly so called ; , 
Dualists ; Gnostics, admitting two principles, the 
Father and the Son, at war and reconciled by a third 
celestial power ; and lastly the followers of Mastek, 
the most formidable and disastrous of all, preaching 

162 Secret Societies. 

universal equality and liberty^ the irresponsibility of 
man, and tbe community of property and women. 

129. Secret Doctrines of Islamism. — The Arabs 
having rendered themselves masters of Persia, the 
sects of that country set to work to spread them- 
selves among Islamism, in order to undermine its 
base. In Islamism even we find indications of an 
exoteric and an esoteric doctrine. The punctuated 
initials which Mahomet put at the head of each 
chapter, according to Mahomedan teachers, contain 
a profound secret, which it is a great crime to reveal. 
The name mufti, which is equivalent to Icey, intimates 
that the priests of Islamism are the living keys of 
a secret doctrine. But the conquered revenged 
themselves on the conquerors. The Persian sects 
examined the Koran, pointed out its contradictions, 
and denied its divine origin. And so there arose in 
Islamism that movement, which attacks dogmas, 
destroys faith, and substitutes for bhnd belief free 
inquiry. False systems are fruitful in schisms. A 
great and enduring harmony is impossible in error ; ' 
truth alone is one, but error has many forms. 

130. The Candidati. — Prom among the many 
sects which arose I will mention only one, that of 
the Sefdd-Schamegan, the Candidati, or those clothed 
in white, whose habitat was the Caucasus, and at 
whose head was the Veiled Prophet. Hakem-ben- 
Haschem wore a golden mask, and taught that God 
put on a human form from the day He commanded ~ 

The Lodge of Wisdom. 163 

the angels to adore the first ra&n, and that from the 
same day the divine nature was transmitted from pro- 
phet to prophet down to him ; that after death evil 
men would pass iato beasts, whilst the good should 
be received into God ; and he, who considered him- 
self very good, in order that no trace should be found 
of his body, and the people should think that, like 
Romulus, he had ascended to heaven — threw himself 
into a pit filled with corrosive matter, which con- 
sumed him. 

131. Cruelty of Babeck the Gay. — -The fury with 
which the sects of Islam contested the government 
of conscience and political power has scarcely a 
parallel in the history of religion. Extermination 
had no bounds. A revolutionary heresiarch, who 
preached communism, Babeck the Gay, for twenty 
years filled the caliphate of Bagdad with death and 
ruin — a dismal gaiety ! A million of men are said 
to have perished through him, and one of the ten 
executioners he had in his pay boasted of having 
slaughtered twenty thousand ; and he himself died 
laughing by the hand of one of his colleagues. But 
these murders were not all due to hostile religious 
views ; political ambition had as great a share in 
them. The caliphate, whose power was growing 
from day to day, raised open and secret opponents, 
and a violent reaction set in. 

132. The Ishmaelites. — Egypt especially seems as 
if predestined to be the birthplace of secret societies. 

164 Secret Societies. 

of priests, warriors, and fanatics. It is tlie region 
of mysteries. The spreading light seems not to 
affect it. Cairo has succeeded the ancient Memphis, 
the doctrine of the Lodge of Wisdom that of the 
Academy of HeliopoUsi 'Abdallah determined secretly 
to oTerthrow the caUphate and to uphold the rights 
of Mahomet the son of Ishmael, the descendant of 
the prophet by Patima. The new sect succeeded 
in delivering from prison Obeidallah, the pretended 
descendant of Ishmael, and in placing him on the 
throne of Mahdia, and subsequently one of his suc- 
cessors on that of Cairo, thus subjecting Egypt to 
the sway of the descendants of Fatima. The caliphs 
of Egypt, more grateful than princes usually are, 
favoured the doctrine that had gained them the 

133. Teaching of the Lodge of Cairo. — The Boial- 
Boat, or supreme missionary or judge, shared the 
power with the prince. Meetings were held in the 
Lodge of Cairo, which contained many books and 
scientific instruments ; science was the professed 
object, but the real aim was very different. The 
course of instruction was divided into nine dearrees. 
The first sought to inspire the pupil with doubts, and 
with confidence in his teacher who was to solve them. 
For this purpose captious questions were to show him 
the absurdity of the literal sense of the Koran, and 
obscure hints gave him to imderstand that under 
that shell was hidden a sweet and nutritious kernel ; 

The Lodge of Wisdom. 165 

but the instruction went no further unless the pupil 
bound himself by dreadful oaths to blind faith 
in, and absolute obedience tOj his instructor. The 
second inculcated the recognition of the imaums, or 
directors, appointed by God as the fountains of every 
kiad of knowledge. The third informed him of the 
number of those blessed or holy imaums, and that 
number was the mystical seven. The fourth informed 
him that God had sent into the world seven legis- 
lators, each of whom had seven coadjutors, and who 
were called mutes^ 'v^hilst the legislators were called 
spealceris. The fifth informed him that each of these 
coadjutors had twelve apostles. The sixth placed 
before the eyes of the adept, advanced so far, the 
precepts of the Koran, and he was taught that all 
the dogmas of religion ought to be subordinate to 
the rule of philosophy ; he was also instructed in the 
systems of Plato and Aristotle. The seventh degree 
embraced mystical pantheism. The eighth again 
brought before him the dogmatic precepts of the 
Mahomedan law, estimating it at its just value. 
The ninth degree, finally, as the necessary result of 
all the former, taught that nothing was to be 
believed, and that everything was lawful. 

134. Progress of Doctrines. — These were the ends 
aimed at — ^human responsibility and dignity were to 
be annihilated ; the throne of the descendants of 
Patima was to be surrounded with an army of 
assassins, a formidable body-guard; a mysterious 

166 Secret Societies. 

militia was to be raised^ tliat should spread far and 
wide the fame and terror of the caliphate of Cairo, 
and inflict fatal blows on the abhorred rule of 
Bagdad. The missionaries spread widely, and in 
Arabia and Syria partisans were won, to whom the 
designs of the order were unknown, but who had 
with fearful solemnity sworn bbnd obedience. 
The nocturnal labours of the Lodge of Cairo lasted 
a century; and its doctrines, which ended with 
denying aU truth, morality, and justice, necessarily 
produced something very extraordinary. So ter- 
rible a shock to the human conscience led to one 
of those phenomena that leave a sanguinary and 
indelible trace on the page of history. 



\OUNDATION of Order.— Only Arabia 
and Syria could have been the theatre 
of the dismal deeds of the " Old Man/' 
or rather ''Lord of the Mountain." 
Hassan Sabbah was one of the days or missionaries 
of the School of Cairo, a man of adventurous spirit, 
who, having greatly distinguished himself, acquired 
much influence at Cairo. This influence, however, 
excited the envy of others, who succeeded in 
having him exiled. He had been put on board a 
ship to take him out of the country, but a storm 
arising, all considered themselves lost. But 
Hassan, assuming an authoritative air, exclaimed, 
"The Lord has promised me that no evil shall 
befal me." Suddenly the storm abated, and the 
sailors cried, " A miracle ! " and became his fol- 
lowers. Hassan traversed Persia, preaching and 
making proselytes, and having seized the fortress 

168 Secret Societies. 

of Alamutj on the borders of Irak and Dilem, whicli 
he called the " House of Fortune/' he there estab- 
lished his rule. 

136. Influence of Hassan. — ^What kind of rale ? 
The history of his time ia full of his name. Kings 
in the very centre of Europe trembled at it ; his 
powerful arm reached OTerywhere. Philip Augus- 
tus of France was so afraid of him that he dared 
not stir without his guard aroimd him ; and perhaps 
the otherwise implacable Lord of the Mountain 
forgave him because of his fear. At first he 
showed no other intention but to increase the 
sway of the caliphate of Cairo, but was not long 
before throwing off the mask, because his fierce 
character submitted with difficulty to cunning and 
hypocrisy. He reduced the nine degrees into 
which the adherents of the Lodge of Cairo were 
divided to seven, placing himself at the head, 
with the title of Seydna or Sidna, whence the 
Spanish Gid, and the Italian Signore. The term 
Assassins is a corruption of Hashishim, derived 
from hashish (the hemp plant), with which the 
chief intoxicated his followers when they entered 
on some desperate enterprise. 

137. Gatechism of the Order. — To regulate the 
seven degrees he composed the Catechism of the 
Order. The first degree recommended to the mis- 
sionary attentively to watch the disposition of the 
candidate, before admitting him to the order. The 

The Assassins. 169 

second impressed it upon him to gain the con- 
fidence of the candidate, by flattering his inclina- 
tions and passions ; the third, to involve him in 
doubts and difficulties by showing him the absur- 
dity of the Koran; the fourth, to exact from him 
a solemn oath of fidelity and obedience, with a pro- 
mise to lay his doubts before his instructor j and 
the fifth, to show him that the most famous men of 
Church and State belonged to the secret order. 
The sixth, called " Confirmation,'" enjoined on the 
instructor to examine the proselyte concerning the 
whole preceding course, and firmly to establish him - 
in it. The seventh finally, called the " Exposition 
of the Allegory," gave the keys of the sect. 

138. Devotion of Followers. — The followers were 
divided into two great hosts, " self-sacrificers " and 
" aspirants." The first, despising fatigues, dangers, 
and tortures, joyfully gave their lives whenever it 
pleased the great master, who required them either 
to protect himself or to carry out his mandates of 
death. The victim having been pointed out, the 
faithful, clothed in a white tunic with a red sash, 
the colours of innocence* and blood, went on their 
mission, without being deterred by distance or 
danger. Having found the person they sought, 
they awaited the favourable moment for slaying 
him ; and their daggers seldom missed their aim. 
Conrad of Montferrat, having either quarrelled 
with the Lord of the Mountain, or excited the 

170 Secret Societies. 

jealousy of some Christian princes who wished for 
his removal, was one of the first victims of the sect. 
Two Assassins allowed themselves to be baptized, 
and placing themselves beside him, seemed only 
intent on praying; but the favourable opportunity 
presenting itself, they slew him, and one of them 
took refuge in ,a church. But hearing that the 
priuce had been carried off stiU alive, he again 
forced his way into Montferrat's presence, and 
stabbed him a second time ; and then expired, 
without a complaint, amidst refined tortures. 

139. The Imaginary Paradise. — How was such 
devotion secured ? The story goes that whenever 
the chief had need of a man to carry out any par- 
ticularly dangerous enterprise, he had recourse to 
the following stratagem : — In a province of Persia, 
now named Sigistan, was the' famous vaUey Mule- 
bat, containing the palace of Alladin, another name 
of the Lord of the Mountain. This valley was a 
most delightful spot, and so protected by high 
mountains terminating in perpendicula,r cliffs, that 
from them no one could enter the valley, and all 
the ordinary approaches were guarded by strong 
fortresses. The valley was cultivated as the most 
luxurious gardens, with pavilions splendidly fur- 
nished, their sole occupants being the most lovely 
and charming women. The man selected by the lord 
to perform the dangerous exploit was first made 
drunk, and in this state carried into the valley. 

The Assassins. 171 

wliere he was left to roam whithersoever he pleased. 
On coming to his senses sufficiently to appreciate 
the beautiful scenery, and to enjoy the charms of 
the sylph-like creatures, that kept him engaged all 
the time in amorous dalliance, he was made to 
believe that this was Elysium ; but ere he wearied . 
or became satiated with love and wine, he was once 
more made drunk, and in this state carried back to 
his own home. When his services were required, 
he was again sent for by the lord, who told him 
that he had once permitted him to enjoy paradise, 
and if he would do his bidding he could luxuriate 
in the same delights for the rest of his life. The 
dupe, believing that his master had the power to do 
all this, was ready to commit whatever crime was 
required of him. 

140. Sanguinary Character of Hassan.— In that 
inaccessible nest the vulture-soul of its master was 
alone with his own ambition ; and the very solitude, 
which constituted his power, must at times have 
weighed heavy upon him. And so it is said that he 
composed theological works, and gave himself up to 
frequent religious exercises. And this need not sur- 
prise us ; theological studies are no bar to ferocity, 
and mystical gentleness is often found united with 
sanguinary fury. But he killed with calculation, to 
gain fame and power, to inspire fear and secure success . 
A Persian caliph thought of attacking and dispersing 
the sect, and found on his pillow a dagger and a 

172 Secret Societies. 

letter from Hassan, saying, " What tas been placed 
beside thy head may be planted in thy heart." In 
spite of years he remained sanguinary to the last. 
With his own hand he killed his two sons : the one 
for having slain a day, and the other for having 
tasted wine. He did not design to found a dynasty, 
or regular government, but an order, sect, or secret 
society; and perhaps his sons perished in conse- 
quence of badly disguising their desire to siicceed 

141 . Further Instances of Devotion in Followers. — 
The obedience of the faithful did not cease with 
Hassan's death, as the following will show. Henry, 
Count of Champagne, had to pass close by the 
territory of the Assassins ; one of the successors of 
Hassan invited him to visit the fortress, which in- 
vitation the count accepted. On making the round 
of the towers, two of the " faithful," at a sign from 
the "Lord," stabbed themselves to the heart, and 
fell at the feet of the terrified count; whilst the 
master coolly said, " Say but the word, and at a sign 
from me you shall see them aU thus on the ground." 
The Sultan having sent an ambassador to summon 
the rebellious "Assassins to submission, the lord, in 
the presence of the ambassador, said to one of 
the faithful, " Kill thyself!" and he did it; and to 
another, " Throw thyself from this tower ! " and he 
hurled himself down. Then turning to the am- 
bassador, he said, " Seventy thousand followers obey 

The Assassins. 173 

me in tlie same manner. This is my reply to your I 
master." The only exaggeration in this is probably 
in the number^ which by some writers is never 
estimated above forty thousandj many of whom 
moreover were not "faithful ones," but only aspi- 

142. Christian Princes in league with Assassins. 
— Several Christian princes were suspected of con- 
niving at the deeds of the Assassins. Eichard of 
England is one of them ; and it has been the loyal 
task of BngKsh writers to free him from the charge 
of having instigated the murder of that Conrad of 
Montferrat spoken of above. There also existed for 
a long time a rumour that Eichard had attempted the 
Hfe of the Eang of France through Hassan and his 
Assassins . The nephew of Barbarossa, Frederick II., 
was excommunicated by Innocent II. for having 
caused the Duke of Bavaria to be slain by the 
Assassins ; and Frederick II., in a letter to the King 
of Bohemia, accuses the Duke of Austria of having 
by similar agents attempted his hfe. Historians 
also mention an Arab who, in 1158, was discovered 
in the imperial camp at the siege of Milan, and on 
the point of stabbing the emperor. Who had armed 
that Assassin ? It is not known. Mutual distrust 
existed amongst the rulers of Europe, and the power 
of Hassan and his successors increased in accordance 
with it. 

143. Extinction of Sect. — There was a period when 

174 Secret Societies. 

a prior or lord, less corrupt or cruel than his prede- 
cessors, attempted to restore the Ishinaelite faith and 
to purge Alamat from the abominations that polluted 
it; but it was either mere pretence, or he was un- 
successful. His successors became only more fero- 
cious. And it was only just that death should visit 
those that sent forth decrees of death ; that suspicion 
and treachery should pursue those who spread them 
among men ; that crime should destroy what crime 
had built up. The rock which was the chief resi- 
dence of the Lords of the Mountain became the seat 
of hatred and plotting. The fathers looked upon 
their sons with jealous fear, and these impatiently 
awaited the death of their parents. They avoided 
one another, and, when obliged to meet, one would 
wear under his clothes a coat of mail, and the other 
redouble his guards. Parricide was punished with 
parricide; and this implacable Nemesis filled with 
horror and remorse the descendants of Hassan. The 
cup of poison avenged the dagger. But the measure 
was full ; the Mongolians, led by Prince Hulagu iu 
1256, attacked and overthrew the Assassins, and the 
world was delivered from the reproach which the 
existence of such a sect had brought upon it. 



\EIOIN of Sect of Z>rMses.— The Ishmael- 
ites of Egypt and Syria may be found even 
to this day in some of the sects of Islam. 
Their primitive physiognomy reveals 
itself but faintly ; but their profile is seen in the 
lineaments of some of the heretical families wander- 
ing in the wilderness or on Mount Lebanon ; objects 
of inquietude to the Turkish government, of wonder 
to travellers^ and of study to science. Of these the 
DruseSj living in northern Syria, and possessing 
about forty towns and villages, are perhaps the 
most remarkable. Their sect may be said to date its 
rise from the supposed incarnation of God in Hakem 
Biamr Allah, publicly announced at Cairo in 1029. 
This Hakem was the sixth caliph of Egypt; and 
Darazi, his confessor, took an active part in pro- 
moting the imposture, which, however, was at first 
so badly received that he was compelled to take 

176 Secret Societies. 

refuge in the deserts of Lebanon. Hamze, a Persian 
mystic and vizier of Hakenij was inore successful, 
and is considered the real founder of the sect, 

145. Doctrines.— The Druses heHeve in the trans- 
migration of souls ; but probably it is merely a figure, 
as it was to the Pythagoreans. Hakem is their pro- 
phet; and they have seven commandments, reh- 
gious and moral. The first of these is veracity, by 
which is understood faith in the unitarian religion 
they profess, and the abhorrence of that lie which is 
called polytheism, incredulity, error. To a brother 
perfect truth and confidence are due ; but it is allow- 
able, nay, a duty, to be false towards men of another 
creed. The sect is divided into three degrees. 
Profanes, Aspirants, and Wise. A Druse who has 
entered the second, may return to the first degree, 
but incurs death if he reveals what he has learned. 
In their secret meetings they are supposed to worship 
a calf's head ; but as their religious books are full of 
denunciations against idolatry, and as they also com- 
pare Judaism, Christianity, and Mahomedanism to a 
calf, it is more probable that this effigy represents 
the principle of falsehood and evil, Iblis, the rival 
and enemy of Hakem. The Druses have also been 
accused of licentious orgies ; but, according to the 
evidence of resident Christians, a young Druse, as 
soon as he is initiated, gives up all dissolute habits, 
and becomes, at least in appearance, quite another 
man, meriting, as in other initiations, the title of 

The Druses. 177 

" new born." They have a peculiar phraseology, 
and recognize each other by enigmatic sentences. 
They claim, in fact, some connection, with the Free- 
masons, who have degrees called the " United 
Druses," and " Commanders of Lebanon." 

146. Recent Events. — Besides the forty towns and 
villages occupied by the Druses exclusively, they 
also divide possession of about four hundred towns 
and villages more with the Maronites, who in 1860 
provoked hostilities with the Druses, which ended in 
much bloodshed. Since then the latter have been 
placed under the protection of a governor appointed 
by the Porte. 



The Templars were one of the most celebrated knightly 
orders during the Crusades ; their whole iustitution, acts, 
and tragical fate, are attractive to the feelings and the 
fancy. — De Quincet. 


Dm Puy. Documents relating to the Trial of the Templars. 

Nicolai. The Templars. 1780. 
Moldenhauer. Proces-Verbal. 1791. 
Bti Fwy. Condemnation of Templars. Brussels, 1713. 
Eecherches Historiques sur les Templiers. Paris, 4835. 
Ilichelet. History of France. Vol. IV. 
James. Dark Scenes of History. London, 1850. 


\OUNDATION of Order.— The Order of 
the Knights of the Temple arose out 
of the Crusades. In 1118 nine valiant 
and pious knights formed themselves 
into an association which united the characters of 
the monk and the knight. They selected for their 
patroness " La douce mere de Dieu," and bound 
themselves to live according to the rules of St. 
Augustine^ swearing to consecrate their swords^ 
arms, strength, and lives, to the defence of the 
mysteries of the Christian faith; to pay absolute 
• obedience to the Grand Master ; to encounter the 
dangers of the seas and of War, whenever commanded, 
and for the love of Christ ; and even when opposed 
singly to three infidel foes not to retreat. They 
also took upoi;! themselves the vows of chastity and 
poverty, promised not to go over to any other 
Order, nor to surrender any waU or foot of land. 
King Baldwin II. assigned them a portion of his 

182 Secret Societies. 

palace, and, as it stood near the Churcli of the 
TemplOj the abbot gave them a street leading from 
it to the palace, and hence they styled themselves 
" Soldiery of the Temple " {militia tempU) . 

148. Progress of the Order. — The first nine years 
which elapsed after the institution of the Order, the 
Templars lived in great poverty ; Hugh des Payens 
and Godfrey of St. Omer, the founders, had but one 
war-horse between them, a fact commemorated on 
the seal of the Order, which represents two knights 
seated on one charger. Soon after. Pope Honorius 
confirmed the Order, and appointed a white mantle 
— to which Bugenius III. aflBxed a red cross on the 
breast — to be the distinguishing dress of the Tem- 
plars. The Order also assumed a banner formed of 
cloth, striped white and black, caRed Beauseant (ia 
old French a piebald horse) , which word became the 
battle-cry of the knights. The banner bore a cross 
and the inscription, " Non nobis, Domme, sed nomini 
tuo da gloriam." Thenceforth many knights joined 
the Order, and numerous powerful princes bestowed 
considerable possessions upon it. Alfonso, king 
of Arragon and Navarre, even appointed the Temp- 
lars his heirs, though the country refused to ratify 
the bequest. Thus they became the richest pro- 
prietors in Europe, untU they possessed about nine 
thousand commanderies, situated in various countries 
of Europe and in Palestine, with an annual rental of 
one hundred and twelve milHon francs. 

The Templars. 183 

149. AccountofCommanderies. — ^Theircommand- 
eries were situate in their eastern and western pro- 
vinces, the former embracing Jerusalem, Tripoli, 
Antioch, Cyprus j the latter, Portugal, Castile and 
Leon, Arragon, France, including Flanders and the 
Netherlands, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and 
SieUy. Whilst Jerusalem was in the hands of the 
Christians, the chief seat of the Templars was in that 
city ; afterwards it was transferred to Paris, where 
they erected the large building until lately known 
as the Temple. It was in this building that Philip 
the Fair took refuge on the occasion of a riot which 
took place in 1306, where the Templars protected 
him until the fury of the people had calmed down. 
The Knights, it is said, incautiously displayed to 
the royal cupidity their immense treasures. On a 
subsequent, but far more momentous rising, the 
pile which served an ungrateful King for an asylum, 
became the prison of an unfortunate successor ; re- 
cently this memento of royal perfidy, and of an 
avenging fate that struck the innocent, has been 
levelled to the ground. 

150. Imputations agmnst the Order. — Towards the 
end of the twelfth century the Order counted about 
thirty thousand members, mostly French, and the 
Grand Master was generally chosen from among the 
French. Through the great number of their affiliated 
members they could raise a large army in any part 
of the Eastern world; and their fleet monopolized 

.184 Secret Societies. 

the commerce of the Levant. Hence they departed 
from their original humility and piety. Palestine 
was lostj and they made no effort to recover it ; but 
frequently drew the sword — ^which was only to be 
used in the service of God, as they understood the 
phrase — in the feuds and warfares of the countries 
they inhabited. They became proud and arrogant. 
When dyingj Richard Cceur de Lion said, " I leave 
avarice to the Cistercian monks, luxuriousness to the 
begging friars, pride to the Templars;" and yet 
perhaps they only felt their own power. The 
English Templars had dared to say to Henry ni., 
" You shall be king as long as you are just;" por- 
tentous words which supplied matter for medita- 
tion to that Philip of France who, like many other 
princes, wished to be unjust with impunity. In 
Castile, the Templars, Hospitallers, and Knights of 
St. John, combined against the King himself. 
Perhaps they aimed at universal dominion, or at the 
establishment of a Western sovereignty, Hke the 
Teutonic Knights of Prussia, the Hospitallers in 
Malta, or the Jesuits in Paraguay ? But there is 
scarcely any ground for these imputations, especially 
the first, considering that the members of the Order 
were scattered all over the earth, and might at the 
utmost have attempted to seize the government of 
some individual state, as that of Arragon for in- 
stance ; but not to carry out a scheme for which 
even the forces of Charlemagne had been inadequate. 

Tlie Templars. 185 

Accusations better founded -weve, that they had 
disturbed the kingdom of Palestine by their rivak-y 
with the Hospitallers ; had concluded leagues with 
the infidels ; had made war upon Cyprus and 
Antiochia; had dethroned the King of Jerusalem, 
Henry II. ; had devastated Greece and Thrace ; had 
refused to contribute to the ransom of Saint Louis ; 
had declared for Arragon against Anjou — an un- 
pardonable crime in the eyes of France — with many 
other accusations. But their greatest crime was 
that of being exceedingly wealthy ; their downfall 
was therefore determined upon. 

151. Plots against the Order. — Philip the Fair 
had spent his last sou. The victory of Mons, worse 
than a defeat, had ruined him. He was bound to 
restore Guyenne, and was on the point of losing 
Maiiders. Normandy had risen against a tax 
which he had been, obliged to withdraw. The 
people of the capital were so opposed to the govern- 
ment, that it had been found necessary to prohibit 
meetings of more than five persons. How was 
money to be obtained under these circumstances ? 
The Jews could give no more, because aU they had 
had been extorted from them by fines, imprison- 
ment, and torture. It was necessary to have re- 
course to some grand confiscation, without dis- 
gusting the classes on whom the royal power relied, 
and leading them to believe, not that booty was 
aimed at, but the punishment of evil doers, to the 

186 Secret Societies. 

greater glory of religion and the triumph of the 
law. At the instigation of Philip the Fair libels 
were published against the Order of the Knights 
Templars, in which the most absurd charges were 
made against the members, accusing them of heresy, 
impiety, and worse crimes. Great weight was 
attached to the statements made against the 
Templars by two renegades of the Order, the 
Florentine Roffi Dei, and the prior of Montfaucon, 
which latter, having been condemned by the Grand 
Master to imprisonment for life for his many crimes, 
made his escape, and became the accuser of his 
former brethren. 

152. Atteniions paid to Grand Master. — Bertrand 
de Got, who by the influence of the French King 
had become Pope under the title of Clement V., 
was now urged by the former to fulfil the last of 
the five conditions on which the King had enabled 
him to ascend the chair of St. Peter. The first four 
conditions had been named, but Philip had reserved 
the naming of the fifth till the fit moment should 
arrive ; and from his subsequent conduct there can 
be no doubt that the destruction of the Order of 
the Temple was the condition that was in the King's 
mind when he thus alluded to it. The first step 
was to get the Grand Master, James de Molay, into 
his power. At the request of the Pope that he 
would come to France to concert measures for the 
recovery of the Holy Land, he left Cyprus and 

The Templars. 187 

came to Paris in 1307j accompanied by sixty 
kniglits, and bringing witL. him 150,000 florins of 
gold, and so much silver that it formed the lading 
of twelve horses, which he deposited in the Temple 
in that city. To luU him into false security, 
the King, whose plan was not yet quite ripe for 
execution, treated the Grand Master with the 
greatest consideration, made him the godfather of 
one of his sons, and chose him with some of the 
most distinguished persons to carry the pall at the 
funeral of his sister-in-law. The following day he 
was arrested with all his suite, and letters having 
in the meantime been sent to the King's officers in 
the provinces on the 13th of October, 1307, to seize 
upon aU the Templars, their houses and property 
throughout the kingdom, many thousand members 
of the Order, knights and serving brothers, were 
thus made prisoners. 

153. Oha/rges against the Templars. — The 
Templars were accused of denying Christ, the 
Virgin, and the Saints, and of spitting and 
trampling on the cross ; of worshipping in a dark 
cave an idol in the figure of a man covered with an 
old human skin, and having two bright and lustrous 
carbuncles for eyes j of anointing it with the fat of 
young children roasted, of looking upon it as their 
sovereign God ; of worshipping the devil in the 
form of a cat; of burning the bodies of dead 
Templars and giving the ashes to the younger 

188 Secret Societies. 

brethren to eat and drink mingled with their food. 
They were charged with various unna,tural crimes, 
frightful debaucheries, and superstitious abomina- 
tions, such as only madmen could have been guilty 
of. To make them confess these crimes they were 
put to the torture, not only in France, but also in 
England, for Edward II. leagued with Philip to 
destroy the Order. Many knights in the agonies 
of the torture confessed to the crimes they were 
charged with, hundreds expired under it without 
making any confession, many starved or killed 
themselves in other ways in prison. The trial was 
protracted for years ; the persecution extended to 
other countries ; in Germany and Spain and Cyprus 
the Order was acquitted of all guilt ; in Italy, 
England, and France, however, their doom was 
sealed, though for a moment there seemed a chance 
of their escaping, for the Pope seeing that Philip 
and Edward had seized all the money and estates 
of the Templars, and seemed inclined to deprive 
him of his share of the spoil, began to side with the 
Order. But on some concessions being made to 
him by the two Kings, he again supported them ; 
though in the end we find him complaining of the 
small share of the booty that came into his hands. 

154. Burning of Knights. — The tedious progress 
of the sham trial was occasionally enlivened by the 
public execution of knights who refused to acknow- 
ledge crimes of which they were not guilty. Fifty- 

The Templars. 189 

nine gallant knights were led forth, in one day to the 
fields at the back of the nunnery of St. Antoine, 
where stakes had been driven into the ground^ and 
fagots and charcoal collected. The knights were 
offered pardon if they would confess ; but they all 
refused and were burned by slow fires. At Senlis 
nine were burned, and many more in other places. 
On all these occasions, as well as in the awful scenes 
of the torture-chamberj the Dominican friars were 
the mocking witnesses. 

155. James de Malay. — The Grand Master re- 
mained in prison five years and a half; and there is 
no doubt that he was repeatedly put to the torture. 
The confession he was said to have made was pro- 
bably a forgery. Finally, on the 18th March, 1313, 
he and Guy, the Grand Preceptor of the Order, were 
burnt by a slow fixe on a small island in the Seine, 
'between the royal gardens and the church of the 
Hermit Brethren, where afterwards the statue of 
Henry IV. was erected, both to the last moment 
asserting the innocence of the Order. 

156. Mysteries of the Knights Templars. — With- 
out laying too much stress on confessions extorted 
by violence, or denunciations proceeding from re- 
venge, cupidity, and servility, it is manifest that the 
Templars, in their ordinances, creed, and rites, had 
something which was peculiar and secret, and totally 
different from the statutes, opinions, and ceremo- 
nies of other religio-military associations. Their 

190 Secret Societies. 

long sojourn in the East^ in tliat dangerous Palestine 
which overflowed with schismatic Greeks and here- 
tioSj whoj driven from Constantinople, took refuge 
with the Arabs ; their rivalry with the Hospitallers ; 
their contact with the Saracen element ; finally, the 
loss of the Holy Land, which injured them in the 
opinion of the world, and rendered their lives idle- 
all these and many other circumstances would act on 
this institution in an unforeseen manner, differing 
from the tendencies of the original constitution, and 
mi-ir up therewith ideas and practices little in accord- 
ance with, nay, in total antagonism to, the orthodox 
thought that had originated, animated, and strength- 
ened this military brotherhood. 

167. The Temple and the Church. — The very 
name may in a certain manner point to a rebellious 
ambition. Temple is a more august, a vaster and 
more comprehensive denomination than that of 
Church. The Temple is above the Church ; this 
latter has a date of its foundation, a local habita- 
tion ; the former has always existed. Churches 
fall ; the Temple remains as a symbol of the parent- 
age of religions, and the perpetuity of their spirit. 
The Templars might thus consider themselves 
as the priests of that religion, not transitory, but 
permanent; and the aspirants could believe that 
the Order constituting them the defenders of the 
Temple, intended to initiate them into a second and 
better Christianity, into a purer religion. Whilst 

The Templars. 191 

the Temple meant for the Christian the Holy Sepul- 
chre, it recalled to the Mussulman the Temple of 
Solomon; and the legend which referred to this 
latter served as a bond to the rituals of the Free- 
masons and other secret societies. 

158. The Temple the Symbol of the Holy Spvtit. — 
In another sense, the Church may be called the 
house of Christ ; but the Temple is the house of the 
Holy Spirit. It is that religion of the Spirit which 
the Templars inherited from the Manichseans, from 
the Albigenses, from the sectarian chivalry that had 
preceded them. Defenders of the Sepulchre of 
Christ, they remained faithful to their trust, but 
considered that He had come on earth only to preach 
in the name of the Eternal Spirit, to whom their 
principal worship was addressed ; and, like the Gnos- 
tics and Manichseans, they celebrated Pentecost rather 
than Easter, because in the former the Divine Spirit 
itself had descended and spread itself over the face 
of the earth. This, in a certain sense, was an am- 
plification, and in another a denial, of the Catholic 
dogma. The Holy Spirit is the universal con- 

159. Doctrines of Templar s.-r-The initiatory prac- 
tices, the monuments, even the trial, show this pre- 
valence of the religion of the Spirit in the secret 
doctrines of the Temple. The Templars drew a great 
portion of their sectarian and heterodox tendencies 
from the last epic cycle of the middle ages — from that 

192 Secret Societies. 

period in which chivalry, purified and organized, 
became a pilgrimage in search of the San Greal, the 
mystic cup that received the blood of the Saviour ; 
from that epoch in which the East, in invasions, 
armed and unarmed, with the science of the Arabs, 
with poetry and heresies, had turned upon the 

160. Initiation. — Much has been said about the 
mode of initiation — that it took place at night in the 
chapel, in the presence of the chapter, all strangers 
being strictly excluded; that licentious rites attended 
it, and that the candidate was compelled to deny, 
curse, and spit upon the cross — that cross for which 
they had shed so much of their own blood, sacrificed 
so many of their own Hves. We have seen that this 
was one of the chief accusations brought against the 
Order. Was there any truth in it ? It seems most 
probable there was ; but the practice may be ex- 
plained as in the following paragraph. 

161. Cursing and Spitting on the Cross Exjolained. 
— Such a practice need not surprise us in an age 
in which churches were turned into theatres, in 
which sacred things were profaned by grotesque 
representations, in which the ancient mysteries 
were reproduced to do honour, in their way, to 
Christ and the saints. The reader may also bear 
in mind the extraordinary scenes afterwards repre- 
sented in the Miracle Plays. Now the aspirant to 
the Templar degree was at first introduced as a 

The Templars. 193 

sinner, a bad Christianj a renegado. He denied, in 
fact, after the manner of St. Peter ; and the renuncia- 
tion was frequently expressed by the odious act 
of spitting on the cross. The fraternity under- 
took to restore this renegado, to raise him all 
the higher the greater his fall had been. Thus 
at the Festival of the Idiots, the candidate pre- 
. sented himself as it were in a state of imbecility 
and of degradation, to be regenerated by the Church. 
These comedies, rightly understood at first, were in 
course of time falsely interpreted, scandalizing the 
faithful, who had lost the key of the enigma. The 
Templars had adopted similar ceremonies. They 
were scions of the Cathari (123) and Manichseans. 
Now the Cathari despised the cross (124), and con- 
sidered it meritorious to tread it under foot. But 
with the Templars this ceremony was symbolical, 
as was abundantly proved during their trial ; and 
had indeed reference to Peter's thrice-repeated 
denial of Christ. 

162. The Templars the Opponents of the Pope. — 
But there may have been another and special reason 
for introducing this ceremony, and ever keeping the 
treachery of Peter before the mind of the members of 
the Order. We have seen that the Templars, during 
and in consequence of their sojourn in the Bast, 
attached themselves to the doctrines of the Gnostics 
and Manichseans, — as is sufficiently attested, were 
'other proofs wanting, by the Gnostic and caba- 


194 Secret Societies. 

listic symbols discovered in and on the tombs of 
Knights Templars, — which appeared to them less 
perverted than those of the priests of Rome. They 
also knew the bad success the proclamation of 
Christ's death on the cross had had at Athens, in 
consequence of JEschylus' tragedy, "Prometheus 
Vinctus," wherein Oceanus denied his friend, when 
God made him the sacrifice for the sins of man- 
kind, just as Peter, who lived by the ocean, did 
with regard to Christ. The Templars, therefore, 
came to the conclusion that all these gods, de- 
scended from the same origin, were only religious 
and poetic figures of the sun ; and, seeing the bad 
use made of the doctrines connected therewith by 
the clergy, they renounced St. Peter, and became 
Johannites, or followers of St. John. There was 
thus a secret schism, and according to some writers, 
it was this, together with the opposition to Roman 
Catholicism which it implied, as weU. as their great 
wealth, which was among the causes of their con- 
demnation by the court of Rome. 

163. Baphomet. — The above explanation may 
also afibrd a clue to the meaning and name of the 
idol the Templars were accused of worshipping. 
This idol represented a man with a long white 
beard, and the name given to it was Baphomet, a 
name which has exercised the ingenuity of many 
critics, but the only conclusions arrived at by any 
of them as to its origin and meaning, and deserving 

The Templars. 195 

. consideratioiij are those of Kieolai, who assuines that 
it was derived from (Sacpn^ fAijTio?, the ''baptism of 
wisdom," and that the image, which sometimes had 
three heads, represented God, the universal Father ; 
and that of De Quincey, to which latter I myself 
incHne, that the figure, sometimes represented 
with two heads only, meant the two chiefs against 
whom the Templars directed their hostility, viz. 
the Pope and Mahomet, and in the name Baphomet 
they intertwisted the names of both, by cutting off 
the first two letters of Mahomet, and substituting 
Bap or Pap, the first syllable of Papa. Thus by 
this figure the Templars expressed their independ- 
ence of the Church and the Church creed ; and an 
initiated member was called a " friend of God, who 
could speak with God, if he chose ; " that is, without 
the intermediation of the Pope and the Church. 
Hence it becomes sufficiently plain why the secret 
w;as looked upon as inviolable, and was so well kept 
that we can only conjecture its import. 

164. Effects of the Downfal of the Knights of the 
Temple. — With the Templars perished* a world ; 
chivalry, the crusades, ended with them. Even the 
Papacy received a tremendous shock. Symbolism 
was deeply affected by it. A greedy and arid 
trading spirit rose up. Mysticism, that had sent 
sach a glow through past generations, found the 
souls of men coldj ihcredulous. The reaction was 
violent, and the Templars were the first to fall 

196 Secret Societies. 

under the rude blows of the West, that longed to 
rebel against the Bast, by which it had hitherto been 
in so many ways permeated, ruled, and oppressed. 
165. Gonnemon mth Freemaso')vry. — The Free- 
masons assert a connexion with the Templars ; and 
there is a society calling themselves Templars 
whose chief seat is at Paris, and whose branches 
extend into. England and other countries. They 
say that James de Moulay before his death appointed 
a successor, and that since then there has been an 
unbroken line of Grand Masters down to the pre- 
sent time, a list of whichi is given by the Order of 
the Temple at Paris. But true Freemasonry, of 
which Freemasons, as a rule, know nothing, existed 
before the Templars, as I shall show when speaking 
of the Masonic Orders. A simple allusion to the 
alleged connexion therefore is all that is needed 




Berck. Geschichte der westphalischen VehmgcricliLu. 

Bremen, 1814. 
KohlraviSch. Deutsche Geschiclite. 
Wigani. Das Vehmgericht. Ham. 1825. 
Koop. Verfassung der heimlichen GericMe. Gottingen, 

Hiitter. Das Vehmgericht. Leipzig, 1798. 
Troos. Sammlung mierkwiirdiger Urkunden fiir die 

Geschichte des Vehmgerichts. 1826. 
Usener. Die freien und heimlichen Gerichte Westphalens. 

Frankfort, 1832. 
Be Bock. Histoire du Tribunal Secret. Metz, 1801. 
Memoirs of the Secret Societies of Italy. London, 1821. 



IBIGIN and object of Instiiution. — In 
this book we are introduced to an order 
of secret societies altogether different 
from preceding ones. Hitherto they 
were religious or military in their leading features ; 
but those we are now about to give an account of 
were judicial in their operationsj and arose during 
the period of violence and anarchy that distracted 
the German empire after the outlawry of Henry the 
Lion, somewhere about the middle of the thirteenth 
century. The most important of these were the 
secret tribunals of Westphalia, known by the name 
of Vehm-Oerichte, or the Holy Vehm. The supreme 
authority of the emperor had lost aU influence in the 
country ; the imperial assizes were no longer held ; 
might and violence took the place of right and 
justice ; the feudal lords tyrannized over the people ; 
whosoever dared, could. To seize the guilty, who- 

200 Secret Societies. 

ever they might be, to punish them before they were 
aware of the blow with which they were threatened, 
and thus to secure the chastisement of crime — such 
was the object of the Westphalian judges, and thus 
the existence of this secret society, the instrtanent 
of public vengeance, is amply justified, and the 
popular respect it enjoyed, and on which alone rested 
its authority, explained. 

167. Officers and Organization. — The Westphalia 
of that period comprehended the country between 
the Ehine and the Weser; its southern boundary was 
formed by the mountains of Hesse, its northern, by 
Friesland. Vehm or Fehm is according to Leibnitz 
derived from fama, as the law founded on common 
fame. But fern is an old German word, signifying 
condemnation, which may be the proper radix, of 
Vehm. These courts were also called Fehmding, 
Freistuhle, " free courts," heimliche Gerichte, heim- 
liche Achten, heimliche _ ieschlossene Achten, ''secret 
courts," "free bann," and verhotene Gerichte, "prohi- 
bited courts." No rank of life excluded a person from 
the right of being initiated, and in a Vehmic code dis- 
covered at Dortmund, and whose reading was forbid- 
den to the profane under pain of death, three degrees 
are mentioned ; the affiliated of the first were called 
Stuhlherren, " lords justices;" those of the second, 
Schoppen (scahini, echevins) j those of the third, 
Frohnhoten, "messengers." Two courts were held, 
an offenbares Ding, " open court," and the heimliche 

The Holy Vehm. 201 

Acht, " secret court." The members were called 
■Wissende, " the knowing ones/' or the initiated. 
The clergy, women and childrenj Jews and heathens, 
and as it would appear the higher nobility, were 
exempt from its jurisdiction. The courts took cog- 
nizance of all offences against the Christian faith, the 
Gospel, and the Ten Commandments. 

168. Language and Rules of IniUated. — The 
initiated had a secret language; at least we may 
infer so from the initials S. S. S. G. G., found in 
Vehmic writings preserred in the archives of 
Herfort, in Westphalia, that have puzzled the 
learned, and by some are explained as meaning, 
Stock, Stein, Stride, Oras, Grein, stick, stone, cord, 
grass, woe. At meals the members are said to have 
recognized each other by turning the points of their 
knives towards the edge, and the points of their 
forks towards the centre, of the table. A horrible 
death was prepared for a false brother, and the oaths 
to be taken were as fearful as some prescribed ia 
the higher degrees of Freemasonry. The affiliated 
promised, among other things, to serve the secret 
Vehm before anything that is illumined by the 
sun or bathed by rain, or to be found between 
heaven and earth ; not to inform any one of the sen- 
tence passed against him; and to denounce, if neces- 
sary, his parents and relations, calling down upon 
himself, in case of perjury, the malediction of all, and 
the punishment of being hanged seven feet higher 

202 Secret Societies. 

than all others. One form of oath, contained in the 
archives of Dortmund, and which the candidate had to 
pronounce kneeling, his head uncovered, and hold- 
ing the forefinger and the middle finger of his right 
hand upon the sword of the president, runs thus : 
" I swear perpetual devotion to the secret tribunal j 
to defend it against myself, against water, sun, moon 
and stars, the leaves of the trees, all living beings ; 
to uphold its judgments and promote their execution. 
I promise moreover that neither pain, nor money, 
nor parents, nor anything created by God, shall 
render me perjured." 

169. Procedure. — The first act of the procedure 
of the Vehm was the accusation, made by a Frei- 
schqppe. The person was then cited to appear ; if 
not initiated, before the open court, and woe to the 
disobedient ! The accused that belonged to the 
order was at once condem.ned ; and the case of the 
unaffiliated was transferred to the secret tribunal. 
A summons was to be written on parchment and 
sealed with at least seven seals ; six weeks and three 
days were allowed for the first, six weeks for the 
second, and six weeks and three days for the third. 
When the residence of the accused was not known, 
the summons was exhibited at a cross-road of his 
supposed county, or placed at the foot of the statue 
of some saint or affixed to the poor-box, not far from 
some crucifix or humble wayside chapel. If the 
accused was a knight, dweUing in his fortified 

The Holy Vehm. 203 

castle, the Schoppen were to introduce themselves 
at night, under any pretence, into the most secret 
chamber of the building and do their errand. But 
sometimes it was considered sufficient to affix the 
summons, and the coin that always accompanied it, 
to the gate, to inform the sentinel of the fact that 
the citation had been left, and to cut three chips 
from the gate, to be taken to the Freigraf, as proofs. 
If the accused appeared to none of the summonses, 
he was sentenced in contumacia, according to the 
laws laid down in the " Mirror of Saxony ; " the ac- 
cuser had to bring forward seven witnesses, not to 
the fact charged against the absent person, but to 
testify to the well-known veracity of the accuser, 
whereupon the charge was considered as proved, and 
the Imperial ban was pronounced against the accused, 
which was followed by speedy execution. The 
sentence was one of outlawry, degradation, and 
death; the neck of the convict was condemned to 
, the halter, and his body to the birds and wild beasts ; 
his goods and pstates were declared forfeited, his 
wife a widow, and his children orphans. He was 
declared /e/i-m&ar, i. e. punishable by the Vehm, and 
any three initiated that met with him were at liberty, 
nay, enjoined, to hang him on the nearest tree. If 
the accused appeared before the court, which was 
presided over by a count, who had on the table 
before him a naked sword and a withy halter, he, as 
weU as his accuser, could each bring thirty friends 

, 204 Secret Societies. 

as witnesses^ and be represented by their attorneys, 
and also had the right of appeal to the general 
chapter of the secret closed tribunal of the Imperial 
chamber, generally held at Dortmund. When sen- 
tence was once definitively spoken for death, the 
culprit was hanged immediately. 

170. Execution of Sentences. — Those condemned 
in their absence, and who were pursued by at least a 
hundred thousand persons, were generally unaware of 
the fact. Every information thereof conveyed to him 
was high treason, punishable by death ; the emperor 
alone, was excepted from the law of secresy ; merely 
to hint that " good bread might be eaten elsewhere," 
rendered the speaker liable to death for betraying 
the secret. After the condemnation of the accused 
a document bearing the seal of the count was given 
to the accuser, to be used by him when claiming the 
assistance of other members to carry out the sen- 
tence), and aU the ioitiated were bound to grant 
him theirs, were it even against their own parents. 
A knife was stuck in the tree on which the person 
had been hanged, to iadicate that he had suffered 
death at the hands of the Holy Vehm. If the 
victim resisted, he was slain with daggers ; but the 
slayer left his weapon in the wound to convey the 
same information, 

171. Decay of the Institution. — These secret tri- 
bunals inspired such terror that the citation by a 
WestphaUan free count was even more dreaded 

The Holy Vehm. 205 

than that of the emperor. In 1470 three free counts 
summoned the emperor himself to appear before 
them^ threatening him with the usual course in case 
of contumacy ; the emperor did not appear, but 
pocketed the affiront. By the admission of improper 
persons, and the abuse of the right of citation, the 
institution — ^which in its time had been a corrective 
of public injustice — gradually degenerated. The 
tribunals were, indeed, reformed by Rupert; and 
the Arensberg reformation and Osnaburgh regula- 
tions modified some of the greatest abuses, and re- 
stricted the power of the Vehm. Still it continued to 
exist, and was never formally abolished. But the 
excellent civil institutions of Maximilian and of 
Charles V., the consequent decrease of the turbulent 
and anarchic spirit, the introduction of the Eoman 
law, the spread of the Protestant rehgion, conspired 
to give men an aversion for what appeared now to 
be a barbarous jurisdiction. Some of the courts 
were abolished, exemptions and privileges against 
them multiplied, and they were prohibited all sum- 
mary proceedings. But a shadow of them remained, 
and it was not till French legislation, in 1811, abol- 
ished the last free court in the county of Miinstfer, 
that they may be said to have ceased to exist. But 
it is not many years since that certain citizens in 
that locality assembled secretly every year, boasting 
of their descent from the ancient free judges. 

172. Kissing the Virgin. — There is a tradition 

206 Secret Societies. 

that one of the methods of putting to death persons 
condemned to that fate by the secret tribunals was 
the following : — The victim was told to go and kiss 
the statue of the Virgin which stood in a subterra- 
nean vault. The statue was of bronze and of gigantic 
size. On approaching it^ so as to touch it, its front 
opened with folding doors and displayed its interior 
set full with sharp and long spikes and pointed blades. 
The doors were similarly armed, and on each, about 
the height of a man's head, was a spike longer than 
the rest, the two spikes being intended when the 
doors were shut to enter the eyes and destroy them. 
The doors having thus opened, the victim by a secret 
mechanism was drawn or pushed into the dreadfal 
statue, and the doors closed upon him. There he 
was cut and hacked by the knives and spikes, 
and in about half a minute the floor on which he 
stood — which was in reality a trap-door — opened, 
and allowed him to fall through. But more horrible 
torture awaited him ; for underneath the trap -door 
were six large wooden cylinders, disposed in pairs 
one below the other. There were thus three pairs. 
The cylinders were furnished all round with sharp 
blades ; the distance between the uppermost pair of 
parallel cylinders was such that a human body could 
just lie between them; the middle pair was closer 
together, and the lowest very close. Beneath this 
horrible apparatus was an opening in which could 
be heard the rushing of water. The mechanism 

The Holy Vehm. 207 

that opened the doors of the statue also set in motion 
the cylinders, which turned towards the inside. 
Hence when the victim, already fearfully mangled 
and blinded, fell through the trap-door he fell be- 
tween the upper pair of cylinders and was thus drawn 
in between them, his body being cut on all sides by 
the knives set round the cyliciders. In this muti- 
lated condition, the quivering mass feU between the 
second and more closely approachjng pair of cylin- 
ders, and was now actually hacked through and 
through and thrown on the lowest and closest pair, 
where it was reduced to small pieces which fell into 
the brook below, and were carried away; thus 
leaving no trace of the awful deed that had been 



lEABAOTEB of the Society. — The notices 
I of this sectj which existed for many 
years in Sicilyj are so scanty, that we 
may form a high idea of the mystery ia 
which it shrouded itself. It had spread not only over 
the island, where it created traditional terror, hut 
also over Calabria, where it was first discoyered, 
and cruelly repressed and punished by the feuda- 
tories, who saw their power assailed by it. A 
popular institution, in opposition to the daily arro- 
gance of baronial or kingly power, it knew not how 
to restraiu itself within the prescribed limits, and 
made itself guilty of reprehensible acts, so that it 
was spoken of in various ways by its contemporarieB. 
174. Tendencies and Tenets. — We have already 
seen that it had connections with the Holy Vehm, 
and its statutes were somewhat similar to this 
tribunal ; but it is to be observed that it proceeded 

The Beati Paoli. 209 

from that spiritual movement whicli produced the 
reaction of the Albigenses, the propaganda of the 
Franciscans, and the reformatory asceticism of 
the many heretics who roamed through Italy and the 
rest of Europe, preaching opposition to Eome, and 
organizing a crusade against the fastuous and cor- 
rupt clerocracy. Among these heretics we must 
remember the abbot Gioachimo, whose prophecies 
and strange sayings reappear in the Evangelium 
Sternum of John of Parma, a book which was one 
of the text-books of the Sicilian judges. ' The 
Evangelium, Mternum, a tissue of cabalistic and 
Gnostic eccentricities, was, by the Beati Paoli, pre- 
ferred to the Old and New Testaments ; they re- 
nounced belief in duaHsm, and made God the 
creator of evil and death — of evil, because he placed 
the mystical apple in the mystical garden ; of death, 
because he ordained the deluge, and destroyed 
Sodom and Gomorrah. 

175. Account of a Sicilian Writer. — Amidst the 
general silence of historians, the account of a Sici- 
lian writer, which was published only in 1840, and 
is still generally unknown, may be considered the 
only document concerning this family of Avengers, 
who at the extreme end of Italy reproduced the 
struggles and terrors of the Westphalian tribunals. 
This writer says: — " In the year 1185, at the nup- 
tials of the Princess Constance, daughter of the 
first King Roger of Sicily, with Henry, afterwards 

210 Secret Societies. 

Henry VI.j Emperor of Germany, there was dia- 
coTered the existence of a new and impious sect, 
who called themselves the Avengers, and in their . 
noctm-nal assemblies declared every crime lawful 
committed on pretence of promoting the public 
good. Of this we find an account in an ancient 
writer, who does not enter into further details. The 
King ordered strict inquiry to be made, and their 
chief, Arinulfo di Ponte Corvo, having been arrested, 
he was sentenced to be hanged with some of his 
most guilty accomplices ; the less guilty were 
branded with a red-hot iron. The belief exists 
among the vulgar that this secret society of Aven- 
gers stiU exists in Sicily and elsewhere, and is 
known by the name of the Beati PaoH. Some 
worthless persons even go so far as to commend the 
impious institution. Its members abounded espe- 
cially at Palermo, and Joseph Amatore, who was 
hanged on Dec. 17, 1704, was one of them. Giro- 
lamo Ammirata, comptroller of accounts, also be- 
longed to this society, and suffered death on 27th 
April, 1725. Most came to a bad end, if not by 
the hands of justice, by the daggers of their asso- 
ciates. The famous vetturino, Vito Vituzzo of 
Palermo, was the last of the wretches forming the 
society of the Beati PaoU. He escaped the gallows, 
because he turned in time from his evil courses; 
and thenceforward he passed all day in St. Mat- 
thew's Church, whence he came to be known by the 

The Beati Paoli. 211 

Surname of the church, mouse. The preceptors and 
masters of these vile men were heretics and apo- 
states from the Minor Brethren of St. Prancisj who 
pretended that the power of the pontiff and the 
priesthood had been bestowed on them by an angelic 
revelation. The house where they held their meet- 
ings is still in existence in the street cZe' Canceddi, 
and I paid it a visit. Through a gateway you pass 
into a courtyard, under which is the vault where the 
members met, and which receives its light through 
a grating in the stone pavement. At the bottom of 
the stairs is a stone altar, and at the side a small 
dark chamber, with a stone table, on which were 
•written the acts and sentences of these murderous 
judges. The principal cave is pretty large, sur- 
rounded with stone seats, and furnished with niches 
and recesses where the arms were kept. The meet- 
ings were held at night by candle, light. The de- 
rivation of the name, the Beati Paoli (Blessed Pauls) , 
is unknown ; but I surmise that it was adopted by 
the sect, because either the founder's name was 
Paul, or that he assumed it as that of a saint who, 
before his conversion, was a man of the sword, and, 
imitating him, was, during the day, a Blessed Paul, 
and at night at the head of a band of assassins, like 
Paul persecuting the Christians." Such is the 
author's account, which I have greatly abbre- 
viated, omitting nearly all his invectives against 
the sect, of which very little is known, and whose 


Secret Societies. 

existence evidently, in its day, was to some extent 
beneficial ; for Sicilians, on suffering any injury or 
loss, for which they cannot apply to justice, are 
often heard to exclaim : — " Ah, if the Beati Paoli 
were still in being ! " 



In our day men are only too much disposed to regard 
the views of the disciples and followers of the Arabian 
school, and of the late Alchymists, respecting transmuta- 
tion of metals, as a mere hallucination of the human mind, 
and, strangely enough, to lament it. But the idea of the 
variable and changeable corresponds with universal ex- 
perience, and always precedes that of the unchangeable. 


The alchymist he had his gorgeous vision 
Of boundless wealth and everlasting youth ; 

He strove untiringly, with firm decision, 
To turn his fancies into glorious truth. 

Undaunted by the rabble's loud derision, 
Condemning without reason, without ruth. 

And though he never found the pearl he sought, 

Yet many a secret gem to light he brought. 


Ledoux. Diotionnaire hermetique. Paris, 1696. 

Clef du Grand (Euvre. Paris, 1776. 

Goldenfalck. Anecdotes alchimiques. Lyons, 1783. 

Schmieder. Geschiohte der Alchemie. Halle, 1832. 

Kopp. Geschiclite der Ghemie. Leipsic, 1844. 

Figmer. L'Alchimie et les Alchimistes. Paris, 1855. 

Levi. La Clef des Grands Mysteres. Paris, 1861. 

Lenglet du Fresnoy. Histoire de la Philosophie herme- 
tique. Paris, 1742. 

Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery. London, 

Bohme. Works passim. 

Fludd. Tractatus Theologo-Philosophicns. Oppenheim, 

Neuhnsius. De Fratribus EossB-Crucis. 

Semler. The Eosicrucians. 

Mackey. Lexicon of Freemasonry. 

Be Qvmcey. Works. Supplemental vol. London, 1871. 


^STBOLOGT perhaps Secret Heresy. — The 
mystic astronomy of ancient nations 
produced judicial astrology^ which, 
considered from this point of view, will 
appear less absurd. It was the principal study of the 
middle ages; and Rome was so violently opposed to 
it because, perhaps, it was not only heresy, but a 
wide-spread reaction against the Church of Eome. 
It was chiefly cultivated by the Jews, and protected 
by princes opposed to the papal supremacy. The 
Church was not satisfied with burning the books, 
but burned the writers; and the poor astrologers, who 
spent their lives in the contemplation of the heavens, 
mostly perished at the stake. 

177. Process hy which Astrology degenerated. — 
As it often happens that the latest disciples attach 

216 Secret Societies. 

tEemselves to the letter, understanding literally 
what in the first instance was only a fiction, taking 
the mask for a real face, so we may suppose astro- 
logy to have degenerated and become false and 
puerile. Hermes, the legislator of Egypt, who was 
revealed in the Samothracian mysteries, and often 
represented with a ram by his side — a constellation 
initiating the new course of the equinoctial sun, the 
conqueror of darkness — was revived in astrological 
practice ; and a great number of astrological works, 
the writings of Christian Gnostics and Neo-Plato- 
nists, were attributed to him, and he was considered 
the father of the art from him called hermetic, and 
embracing astrology and alchymy, the rudimentary 
efibrts of two sciences, which at first overawed igno- 
rance by imposture, but, after labouring for centu- 
ries in the dark, conquered for themselves glorious 
thrones in human knowledge. 

178. Scientific Value of Alchymy. — Though al- 
chymy is no longer believed in as a true science, in 
spite of the prophecy of Dr. Girtanner, of Gottingen, 
that in the nineteenth century the transmutation of 
metals will be generally known and practised, it wiE 
never lose its power of awakening curiosity and 
seducing the imagination. The aspect of the mar- 
vellous which its doctrines assume, the strange re- 
nown attaching to the memory of the adepts, and 
the mixture of reality and ULusion, of truths and 
chimeras which it presents, wiU always exercise a 

The Alchymists. 217 

powerful fascination upon many minds. And we 
ought also to remember that every delusion that has 
had a wide and enduring influence must have been 
founded^ not on falsehood, but on misapprehended 
truth. This aphorism is especially applicable to 
Alchymy, which, in its origin, and even in its name, 
is identical with chemistry, the syllable al being 
merely the definite article of the Arabs. The re- 
searches of the Alchymists for the discovery of the 
means by which transmutation might be effected 
were naturally suggested by the simplest experi- 
ments in metallurgy and the amalgamation of 
metals ; it is very probable that the first man who 
inade brass thought that he had produced imperfect 

179. The Tincture. — The transmutation of the ' 
base metal was to be effected by means of the trans- 
muting tincture, which, however, was never found. 
But it- exists for aU that ; it is the power that turns a 
green stalk into a golden ear of corn, that fills the " 
sour unripe apple with sweetness and aroma, that 
has turned the lump of charcoal into a diamond. 
All these are natural processes, which, being allowed 
to go on, produce the above results. Now, aU base 
metals may be said to be imperfect metals, whose 
progress towards perfection has been arrested, the 
active power of the tincture being shut up in them 
in the first property of nature (11) . If a man could 
take hold of the tincture universally diffused in 

218 Secret Societies. 

nature, and by its help assist the imprisoned tincture 
in the metal to stir and become active, then the 
transmutation into gold, or rather the manifestation 
(11) of the hidden Hfe, could be effected. But 
this power or tincture is so subtle that it cannot 
possibly be apprehended ; yet the Alchymists 
did not seek the non-existing, but only the unat- 

180. Aims of Alchymy. — The three great ends 
pursued by Alchymy were the transmutation of base 
metals into gold by means of the philosopher's 
stone ; the discovery of the panacea, or universal 
medicine, the elisir of HfeJ and the universal solvent, 
which, being applied to any seed, should increase 
its fecundity. AH these three objects are attain- 
able by means of the tincture — a vital force, whose 
body is electricity, by which the two latter aims 
have to some extent been reached, for electricity 
will both cure disease and promote the growth of 
plants. Alchymy was then in the beginning the 
search after means to raise matter up to its first 
state, whence it was supposed to have fallen. Gold 
was considered, as to matter, what the ether of the 
eighth heaven was as to souls ; and the seven metals, 
each called by the name of one of the seven planets, 
the knowledge of the seven properties really implied 
being lost — the Sun, gold j Moon, silver ; Saturn, 
lead ; Venus, tin ; Mercury, iron ; Mars, mixed 

The Alchymists. 219 

metal; Jupiter, copper/ — formed the ascending 
scale of purification, corresponding with the trials 
of the seven caverns or steps. Alchymy was thus 
either a bodily initiation, or an initiation into the 
mysteries, a spiritual Alchymy; the one formed a 
veil of the other, wherefore it often happened that 
in workshops where the vulgar thought the adepts 
occupied with handicraft operations, and nothing 
sought but the metals of the golden age, in reality, 
no other philosopher's stone was searched for than 
the cubical stone of the temple of philosophy; in 
fine, nothing was purified but the passions, men, 
and not metals, being passed through the crucible. 
Bohme, the greatest of mystics, has written largely 
on the perfect analogy between the philosophical 
work and spiritual regeneration. 

181. Sistory of Alchymy. — Alchymy flourished 
in Egypt at a very early age, and Solomon was said 
to have practised it. Its golden age began with 
the conquests of the Arabs in Asia and Africa, about 
the time of the destruction of the Alexandrian 
Library. The Saracens, credulous, and intimate 
with the fables of talismans and celestial influences, 
eagerly admitted the wonders of Alchymy. In the 
splendid courts of AlmansorandHaroun al Easchid, 

• New arrangement : Venus, copper ; Mercury, mixed 
metal ; Mars, iron ; Jupiter, tin. 

220 Secret Societies. 

the professors of the hermetic art found patronage, 
disciples, and emolument. Nevertheless, from the 
above period until the eleventh century the only 
alchymist of note is the Arabian Geber, whose proper 
name was Abu Mussah Djafar al Sofi. His attempts 
to transmute the base metals into gold led him to 
several discoveries in chymistry and medicine. He 
was also a famous astronomer, but — sic transit gloria 
mundif- — he has descended to our times as the 
founder of that jargon known by the name of gib- 
berish ! The Crusaders brought the art to Europe, 
and about the thirteenth century Albertus Magnus, 
Eoger Bacon, and Raymond Lully appeared as its 
revivers. Henry VI. of England engaged lords, 
nobles, doctors, professors, and priests to pursue 
the search after the philosopher's stone ; especially 
the priests, who, says the king — (ironically ?) — ^having 
the power to convert bread and wine into the body 
and blood of Christ, may well convert an impure 
into a perfect metal. The next man of note that 
pretended to the possession of the lapis philoso- 
phorum was Paracelsus, whose proper name was 
Philip Aureolus Theophrastus Paracelsus Bom- 
bagtus, of Hohenheim, and whom his followers called 
" Prince of Physicians, Philosopher of Kre, the 
Trismegistus of Switzerland, Reformer of Alchymis- 
tical Philosophy, Nature's faithful Secretary, Master 
■ of the Elixir of Life and Philosopher's Stone, Great 
Monarch of Chymical Secrets." He introduced the 

The Alchemists. 221 

term aleahest (probably a corruption of the German 
words "all geist," "all spirit ")j to express tlie 
universal solvent. The Eosicrncians (184)^ of whom 
Dr. Dee was the herald, next laid claim to alchy- 
mistical secrets, and were, in fact, the descendants 
' of the Alchymists ; and it is for this reason chiefly 
that these latter have been introduced into this 
work, though they cannot strictly be said to have 
formed a secret society. The last of the English 
Alchymists seems to have been a gentleman of the 
name of Kellerman, who as lately as 1828 was living 
at Lilley, a village between Luton and Hitchin. 
There are, no doubt, at the present moment men 
engaged in the search after the philosopher's stone ; 
we patiently wait for their discoveries. 

182. Specimen of Alchymistic Language. — After 
Paracelsus the Alchymists divided into two classes : 
those that pursued useful studies, and those that 
took up the visionary fantastical side of Alchymy, 
writing books of mystical trash which they fathered 
on Hermes, Aristotle, Albertus Magnus, and others. 
Their language is now unintelligible. One brief 
specimen may suffice. The power of transmutation, 
called the Green Lion, was to be obtained in the 
' following manner : — " In the Green Lion's bed the 
sun and moon are bom, they are married and beget 
a king ; the king feeds on the lion's blood, which is 
the king's father and mother, who are at the same 
time his brother and sister. I fear I betray the 

222 Secret Societies. 

secret, which I promised my master to conceal in 
dark speech from every one who does not know how 
to rule the philosopher's fire." Our ancestors must 
have had a great talent for finding out enigmas if 
they were able to elicit a meaning from these mys- 
terious directions; still the language was under- 
stood by the adepts, and was only intended for them. 
Many statements of mathematical formulae must 
always appear pure gibberish to the uninitiated into 
the higher science of numbers; still, these state- 
ments enunciate truths well understood by the 
mathematician. Thus, to give but one instance, 
when Hermes Trismegistus, in one of the treatises 
attributed to him, directs the adept to catch the 
flying bird and to drown it, so that it fly no more, 
the fixation of quicksilver by a combination with 
gold is meant. 

188. Personal Fate of the Alchymists. — The Alchy- 
mists, though chemistry is greatly indebted to them, 
and in their researches they stumbled on many a 
valuable discovery, as a rule led but sad and chequered 
Lives, and most of them died in the utmost poverty, 
if no worse fate befell them. Thus one of the most 
famous Alchymists, Bragadino, who lived in the last 
quarter of the sixteenth century, who obtained large 
sums of money for his pretended secret from the 
Emperor of Germany, the Doge of Venice, and 
other potentates, who boasted that Satan was his 
slave — two ferocious black dogs that always ac- 

The Alchymists. 


companied him being demons — was at last hanged 
at Mimichj the cheat with which he performed the 
pretended transmutation having been discoTered. 
The two dogs were shot under the gallows. But 
even the honest Alchymists were doomed — ■ 

To lose good days that might be better spent* 
To waste long nights in pensive discontent ; 
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow, 
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow ; 
To fret their souls with crosses and with cares. 
To eat their hearts through comfortless despairs. 
Unhappy wights, born to disastrous end, 
That do their lives in tedious tendance spend ! 



iEBITS of the Bosicrucians. — A halo of 
poetic splendour surrounds the Order 
of the Rosicrucians ; the magic lights 
of fancy play around their graceful day- 
dreams, while the mystery in which they shrouded 
themselves lends an additional charm to their 
history. But their brilliancy was that of a meteor. 
It just flashed across the realms of imagination and 
intellectj and Tanished for ever ; not, however, 
without leaving behind some permanent and lovely 
traces of its hasty passage, just as the momentary 
ray of the sun, caught on the artist's lens, leaves a 
lasting image on the sensitive paper. Poetry and 
romance are deeply indebted to the Rosicrucians 
for many a fascinating creation. The literature of 
every European country contains hundreds of pleas- 
ing fictions, whose machinery has been borrowed 
from their system, of philosophy, though that itself 

Rosicrucians. 225 

has passed away; and it must be admitted that 
many of their ideas are highly ingenious, and attain 
to such heights of intellectual speculation as we 
find to have been reached by the sophists of India. 
Before their time, alchymy had sunk down, as a 
rule, to a groTelling delusion, seeking but temporal 
advantages and occupying itself with earthly dross 
only ; the Rosicrucians spiritualized and refined it 
by giving the chimerical search after the philoso- 
pher's stone a nobler aim than the attainment of 
wealth, namely, the opening of the spiritual eyes, 
whereby man able to see the supernal 
world, and be filled with an inward light to illumine 
his mind with true knowledge. 

185. Origin of Society doubtful. — The society is 
of very uncertain origin. It is aflBrmed by some 
writers that from the fourteenth century there 
existed a society of physicists and alchymists who 
laboured in the search after the philosopher's stone ; 
and a certain Mcolo Bamaud undertook journeys 
through Germany and France for the purpose of 
establishing a hermetic society. From the preface 
of the work, " Echo of the Society of the Eosy 
Cross," it moreover follows that in 1597 meetings 
were held to institute a secret society for the promo- 
tion of alchymy. Another indication of the actual 
existence of such a society is found in 1610, when 
the notary Haselmeyer pretended to have read in a 
MS. the Fama Fraternitatis, comprising all the 


226 Secret Societies. 

laws of the Order. Four years afterwards appeared 
a small work, entitled " General Reformation of 
the World/' which in fact contains the Fama Fra- 
termtatis, where it is related that a German, 
Christian Rosenkreuz, founded such a society in 
the fourteenth century, after, having learnt the sub- 
lime science in the East. Of him it is related, that 
when, in 1378, he was travelling in Arabia, he was 
called by name and greeted by some philosophers, 
who had never before seen him; from them he learned 
many secrets, among others that of prolonging life. 
On his return he made many disciples, and died at 
the age of 150 years, not because his strength 
failed him, but because he was tired of life. In 
1604 one of his disciples had his tomb opened, and 
there found strange inscriptions and a MS. in 
letters of gold. The grotto in which this tomb was 
found, by the description given of it, strongly re- 
minds us of the Mithraic Cave. Another work, the 
"Confessio Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis," contains an 
account of the object and spirit of the Order. It is 
a mixture of absurdity and fanaticism, and the most 
plausible solution is that the work is a satire on the 
philosophical foUies of the time. It was written by 
Valentine Andrea of Herrenberg. But as the 
armorial bearings of the Andrea family were a St. 
Andrew's cross and four roses, he may also have 
meant to intimate that the Order of the Rosy Cross 
was an Order founded by himself. 

Rosicrucians. 227 

186. Origin of Name. — The name is generally 
derived from the supposed founder of the Order, 
Eosenkreuz, Eose Cross, j but according to others 
it is the compound of ros, dew, and erux, the cross. 
Crux is supposed mystically to represent LUX, or 
light, because the figure X exhibits the three letters 
LVX j and light, in the opinion of the Rosicrucians, 
is that which produces gold, whilst dew (ros) with 
the alchymists was the most powerful solvent of 
gold. Others say that the Order took its name 
from the rose, and the epopt was called Rosa, 
whilst their ritual affirmed that the rose is the 
emblem of the Son of God, who by the Evangelist 
is compared to that flower. But we have already 
seen in the account of the Bleusinian Mysteries 
what importance was attached to the rose, and that 
Apuleius makes Lucius to be restored to his primitive 
form by eating roses; and the '^Eomance of the 
Eose'^ was considered by the Eosicrucians as one of 
the most perfect specimens of Provencal literature, 
and as the allegorical chef Slaemmre of their sect. 
It is undeniable that this was coeval with chivalry, 
and had from thenceforth a literature rich in works, 
ia whose titles the word Rosa is incorporated; as 
the Rosa Philosophorimb, of which no less than ten 
occur in the ArUs AwriferoB quam Ohemiam voeant 
(Basilea, 1610). The connection of the Rosicru- 
cians with chivalry, the Troubadours, and the Albi- 
genses, cannot be denied. Like these, they swore the 

228 Secret Societies. 

same hatred to Eome, like these they called Catholi- 
cism the religion of hate. They solemnly declared 
that the Pope was Antichrist, and rejected pontifical 
and Mahomedan dogmas, styling them the beasts 
of the East and West. 

187. Statements concerning themselves. — They 
pretended to feel neither hunger nor thirst, nor to 
be subject to age or disease ; to possess the power of 
commanding spirits and attracting pearls and pre- 
cious stones, and of rendering themselves invisible. 
They stated the aim of their society to be the resto- 
ration of all the sciences and especially of medicine; 
and by occult artifices to procure treasures and 
riches sufB.cient to supply the rulers and idnga with 
the necessary means for promoting the great re- 
forms of society then needed. They were bound to 
conform to five fundamental laws: 1. Gratuitously 
to heal the sick. 2. To dress in the costume of 
the country ia which they Hved. 3. To attend 
every year the meeting of the Order. 4. When 
dying to choose a successor. 5. To preserve the 
secret one hundred years. 

188. Poetical Fictions of Eosicrucians. — These are 
best known from the work of Joseph Francis Borri, 
a native of Milan. Having preached against the 
abuses of the Papacy, and promulgated opiaions 
which were deemed heretical, he was seized by 
order of the Inquisition and condemned to perpetual 
imprisonment. He died in the Castle of St. 

Bosicrucians. 229 

Angelo in 1695. The work referred to is entitled 
" The Key of the Cabinet of Signer Borrij" and is 
in substance nothing but the cabalistic romance 
entitled " The Count de Gabalis/^ published in 
1670 by the Abbe de Villars. What we gather 
■from this work is, that the Rosicrucians discarded 
for ever all the old tales of sorcery and witchcraft 
and communion with the devil. They denied the 
existence of incubi and succubi, and of all the 
grotesque imps monkish brains had hatched and 
superstitious nations beHeved in. Man, they said, 
was surrounded by myriads of beautiful and bene- 
ficent beings, all anxious to do him service. These 
beings were the elemental spirits ; the air was 
peopled with sylphs, the water with undines or 
naiads, the earth with gnomes, and the fire with 
salamanders. These the Rosicrucian could bind to 
his service and imprison in a ring, a mirror, or a 
stone, and compel to appear when called, and render 
answers to such questions as he chose to put. All 
these beings possessed great powers, and were un- 
restrained by the barriers of space or matter. But 
man was in one respect their superior : he had an 
immortal soul, they had not. They could, however, 
become sharers in man's immortality, if they could 
inspire one of that race with the passion of love 
towards them. On this notion is founded the 
charming story of "Undine;" Shakespeare's Ariel 
is a sylph ; the " Rape of the Lock," the Masque 

230 Secret Societies. 

of " Comus/' the poem of " Salamandrine/' all 
owe their machinery to the poetic fancies of the 
Eosicrucians. Among other things they taught 
concerning the elemental spirits, they asserted that 
they were composed of the purest particles of the 
element they inhabited, and that in consequence of 
having within them no antagonistic qualities, being 
made of but one element (11) they could Kve for 
thousands of years. The Eosicrucians further held 
the doctrine of the signatura rerum, by which they 
meant that everything in this visible world has 
outwardly impressed on it its inward spiritual cha- 
racter. Moreover they said that by the practice of 
virtue man could even on earth obtain a glimpse of 
the spiritual world, and above all things discover 
the philosopher's stone, which however could not 
be found except by the regenerate, for " it is in close 
communion with the heavenly essence.'' According 
to them the letters INEI, the sacred word of the 
Order of Eose Croix, signified Igne Natura Be- 
generando Integrat. 

189. Progress and Extinction of Eosicrucians. — 
After having excited much attention throughout 
Germany, the Eosicrucians endeavoured to spread 
their doctrines in France, but with little success. 
In order to attract attention they secretly posted 
certain notices in the streets of Paris, to this effect : 
" We, the deputies of the College of the Eosy Cross, 
visibly and invisibly dwell in the city. We teach 

Rosicrucians. 231 

without books or signs every language that can 
draw men from mortal error," &c. &c. A work by 
Gabriel Rainde gave them the final blow. Peter 
Mormio, not having succeeded in reviving the 
society in Holland, where it existed in 1622, pub- 
lished at Leyden, in 1630, a work entitled Arcana 
Natures Secretissima, wherein he reduced the secrets 
of the brethren to three, viz. perpetual motion, the 
transmutation of metals, and the universal medicine. 
The German Rosicrucians always called themselves 
the depositories and preservers of the Masonic 
dogma, which they asserted to have been confided 
to them by the BngUsh in the time of King Arthur. 
Faithful to the Johannite tradition they called their 
grand masters John I., John 11., and so on. At 
first they had only three degrees besides the three 
symboUo degrees of freemasonry. The sect was 
also known in Sweden and Scotland, where it had 
its own traditions, claiming to be descended from 
the Alexandrian priesthood of Ormuzd, that em- 
braced Christianity in consequence of the preaching 
of St. Mark, founding the society of Ormuzd, or of 
the " Sages of Light." This tradition is founded 
on the Manichseism preserved among the Coptic 
priests, and explains the seal impressed on the 
ancient parchments of the Order, representing a 
Kon placing his paw on a paper, on which is written 
the fe,mous sentence, " Pax tibi, Marce EvcmgeUsta 
meus ;" from which we might infer that Venice had 

232 Secret Societies. 

some connection with, tlie spreading of that tradition. 
In fact, Nicolai tells us that at Venice and Mantua 
there were Eosicrucians, connected with those of 
Brfurtj LeipsiCj and Amsterdam. And we also 
know that at Venice congresses of alchymists were 
held ; and the connection between these latter and 
the Rosicrucians has already heen pointed out. 
N^evertheless the Scotch and Swedish Eosicrucians 
called themselves the most ancient, and asserted 
Edward, the son of Henry III., to have been initiated 
into the Order in 1196, by Eaymond Lully, the 
alchymist. The Fraternity of the Eosy Cross is 
still flourishing in England, the members being 
selected from the Masonic body ; it has a governing 
Senate in London, with a Metropolitan College, 
while Provincial Colleges are established at Bristol, 
Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh and 

190. Transition to Freemasons. — Prom the Tem- 
plars and Rosicrucians the transition to the Free- 
masons is easy. With these latter alchymy receives 
a wholly symbolical explanation ; the philosopher's 
stone is a figure of human perfectibility. In the 
Masonic degree called the " Key of Masonry," or 
" Knight of the Sun," and the work " The Blazing 
Star," by Tschudi, we discover the parallel aims of 
the two societies. From the " Blazing Star " I 
extract the following portion of the ritual : " When 
the hermetic philosophers speak of gold and 

Rosicrucians. 233 

silver, do they mean common gold and silver ? " — , 
" No, because common gold and silver are dead, 
whilst the gold and silver of the philosophers are 
full of life." — " What is the object of Masonic in- 
quiries ? " — " The art of knowing how to render 
perfect what nature has left imperfect in man/' — 
" What is the object of philosophic inquiry ? " — 
" The art of knowing how to render perfect what 
nature has left imperfect in minerals, and to in- 
crease the power of the philosopher's stone." — " Is 
it the same stone whose symbol distinguishes our 
first degrees ? " — " Yes, it is the same stone which 
the Freemasons seek to polish." So also the 
Phoenix is common to hermetic and Masonic initia- 
tion, and the emblem of the new birth of the 
neophyte. Now we have already seen the meaning 
of this figure, and its connection with the sun. 
We might multiply comparisons to strengthen the 
parallelism between hidden arts and secret societies, 
and trace back the hermetic art to the mysteries of 
Mithras, where man is said to ascend to heaven 
through seven steps or gates of lead, brass, copper, 
iron, bronze, silver, and gold. 


"Wtat mote it be ? 

King Sewy FI. of Englamd. 


-Alhm. Les Pranos-Magons. Paris, 1862. 
Preston. Illustrations of Masonry. 
Gadicke. Preimaurer Lexicon. 
Machey. Lexicon of Freemasonry. 
BeghelUwi. Esprit du Dogma de la Pranc-Magonnerie. 
Bcwruel. Histoire du Jacobinisme. 
BoWson. Proofs of a Conspiracy. London, 1799. 
Lamrie. History of Freemasonry. 
Keldmann. Les trois plus anoiens Monnm.ents de la Con- 

fratemite magonnique allemande. 
Lewmng. Encyclopaedie der Preimanrerei. 
Bagon. Cours philosopHque des Initiations anciennes 

et modernes. Paris, 1841. 
Bermott. The AHman Eezon. 
Oliver. Theocratic Philosophy of Freemasonry. London, 

Pocket Companion of History of Freemasonry. London, 

OUver. History of Initiations. London, 1829. 
Eutchmson. Spirit of Freemasonry. 
Oarlile. Manual of Freemasonry. London. 
Fellows. Mysteries of Freemasonry. London, 1860. 
Lenoir. La Prano-MaQonnerie rendue ^ sa veritable 

Olavel. Histoire pittoresque de la Franc-MaQOnnerie. 

Paris, 1844. 
Bagon. Le Tuilier General. Paris, 1861. 
BSdares. Etudes sur les Trois Grades de la MaQonneiie. 

Paris, 1859. 
Eckert. Die Freimaurerei in ihrer wahren Bedentong. 

Lifege, 1854. 

Authorities. 237 

Kwufmcmn et OJierpin. Histoire philosophique de la 

Franc-Magonnerie. Lyons, 1850. 
De la Tierce. Histoire des Franc-Magons. 1745. 
De Widehind. Geschichte der Preimaurerei ia Deutsch- 

Lindner. Mac-Benach. Leipsic, 1819. 
Bode. Einfluss der Freimaurer. Leipsic, 1788. 
- R&gle magonnique S, rUsage des Loges reunies et recti- 

fiees de Convent- General de Wilhelmsbad. Paris, 

La Verite sur les Societes secretes en Allemagne. Paris, 

Forgwme. De I'lnfluenoe de I'Esprit philosophique et de 

celle des Societes secretes. Paris, 1858. 
Mourner. De I'lnfluence attribuee aux Philosophes, airx 

Francs-MaQons et aux Illumines sur la Kevolution de 

France. Paris, 1801. 
Vie de Joseph Balsamo. Paris, 1791. 
Memoires authentiques pour servir k I'Histoire de Cagli- 

ostro. Strasburg, 1786. 
Scdnt-ffeUsB. Aventures de Cagliostro. Paris, 1854. 
L' Adoption de la Magonnerie des Femmes. 1775. 
8cmnt-Vidor. La Vraie Magonnerie d' Adoption. London, 

Bagon. Manuel Complet de la Maponnerie des Dames. 

Paris, 1860. 
Procedures de I'lnquisition de Portugal centre les Francs- 

Magons. 1740. 
Eybert. Les Martyrs de la Franc-Magonnerie en Espagne. 

Paris, 1854. 
Levesque. Apergu g&n&al des prinoipales Sectes magon- 

niques. Paris, 1821. 
Dubreml. Histoire des Francs-Magons, Brussels, 1838. 
Bedwrride. De I'Ordre magonnique de Misraim. Paris, 


238 Secret Societies. 

Vernhea. Defense de I'Ordre de Misraim. 

Bairgmet. Discours but I'Histoire de I'Ordre du Temple. 

Vassal. Oours oomplet de MaQonnerie. Paris, 1832. 
Abraham. Miroir de la Verite. 
Aaxvry. La Magonnerie dn Grand Orient de France. 

Paris, 1857. 
Baxot. Tableau historique, philosophique, et moral de la 

Magonnerie en Prance. 
La Madre loggia Dante Alighieri. Turin, 1863. 
Programma Massonioo adottato daUa Massoneria. Italiana 

Eicostituta. 1863. 
Organisation du Travail par I'Liitiation magonnique. 

Paris, 1844. 
Marcomis. Table de la Loi des Prancs-Magons. Paris, 1862. 
Preemasons' Quarterly Eeview. London. 
MoreoM. L'TJnivers magonnique. Paris, 1837. 
Buplads. La Vraie Lumiere ; Journal des Prancs-Magons. 

Versailles, 1851-2. 
Cherpin. Eevue magonnique. Lyons. 
Feigne. Eevne magonnique. Paris. 
J^^ge. Le Globe ; Archives generales des Sooietes secretes, 

non politiques. Paris. 
The Secrets of Freemasonry Eevealed. London, 1759. 
A Master-Key to Freemasonry. London, 1760. 
L'Ordre des Prancs-Magons trahi. Amsterdam, 1771. 
Les plus secrets Mysteres de la Frano-Magonnerie. Jeru- 
salem (Paris), 1774. 
Fatti ed Argomenti intomo alia Massoneria. G«nova, 

Masonry the same all over the World. Boston, 1830. 


INGE8TBY of Hiram Abiff.— Solomon, 
having determined on the erection of 
the Temple, collected artificers, di- 
vided them into companies, and put 
them under the command of Adoniram or Hiram 
Abiff, the architect sent to him by his friend and 
ally Hiram, King of Tyre. According to mythical 
tradition, the ancestry of the binlders of the mystical 
temple was as follows : One of the Elohim, or primi- 
tive genii, married Eve and had a son called Cain ; 
whilst Jehovah or Adonai, another of the Elohim, 
created Adam and united him with Eve to bring 
forth the fanaily of Abel, to whom were subjected 
the sons of Cain, as a punishment for the trans- 
gression of Eve, Cain, though industriously cul- 
tivating the soil, yet derived little produce from it, 
whilst Abel leisurely tended his flocks. Adonai 
rejjected ' the gifts and sacrifices of Cain, and 

240 Secret Societies. 

stirred up strife between the sons of fcte EloTiiTn, 
generated out of fire, and the sons formed out of 
the earth only. Cain killed Abel, and Adonai pur- 
suing his sons, subjected to the sons of Abel the 
noble family that invented the arts and dififiised 
science. Enoch, a son of Cain, taught men to 
hew stones, construct edifices, and form civil socie- 
ties. Irad and Mehujael, his son and grandson, 
set boundaries to the waters and fashioned cedars 
into beams. Methusael, another of his descen- 
dants, invented the sacred characters, the books of 
Tau and the symbolic T, by which the workers 
descended from the genii of fire recognized each 
other. Lamech, whose prophecies are inexplicable 
to the profane, was the father of Jabal, who first 
taught men how to dress camels' skins ; of Jubal, 
who discovered the harp; of Naamah, who discovered 
the arts of spinning and weaving; of Tubal- Cain, 
who first constructed a furnace, worked in metals, 
and dug subterranean caves in the mountains to 
save his race during the deluge; but it perished 
nevertheless, and only Tubal- Cain and his son, the 
sole survivors of the glorious and gigantic family, 
came out alive. The wife of Ham, second son of 
Noah, thought the son of Tubal-Cain handsomer 
than the sons of men, and he became progenitor of 
Nimrod, who taught his brethren the art of hunting, 
and founded Babylon. Adoniram, the descendant 
of Tubal-Cain, seemed called by God to lead the 

The Legend of the Temple. 241 

militia of the free men, connectiag the sons of fire 
with the sons of thought, progress, and truth. 

192. Hiram, Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba. 
— By Hiram was erected a marvellous building, 
the Temple of Solomon. He raised the golden 
throne of Solomon, most beautifully wrought, and 
built many other glorious edifices. But, melancholy 
amidst all his greatness, he lived alone, understood 
and loved by few, hated by many, and among others 
by Solomon, envious of his genius and glory. Now 
the fame of the wisdom of Solomon spread to the 
remotest ends of the earth ; and Balkis, the Queen 
of Sheba, came to Jerusalem, to greet- the great king 
and behold the marvels of his reign. She found 
Solomon seated on a throne of gilt cedar wood, 
arrayed in cloth of gold, so that at first she seemed 
to behold a statue of gold with hands of ivory. 
Solomon received her with every kind of festive 
preparation, and led her to behold his palace and 
then the grand works of the temple ; and the queen 
was lost in admiration. The king was captivated 
by her beauty, and in a short time ofiered her his 
hand, which the queen, pleased at having conquered 
this proud heart, accepted. But on again visiting 
the temple, she repeatedly desired to see the archi- 
tect who had wrought such wondrous things. 
Solomon delayed as long as possible presenting 
Hiram Abiff to the queen, but at last he was obHged 
to do so. The mysterious artificer was brought before 


242 Secret Societies. 

hev, and cast on the queen a look that penetrated 
her very heart. Having recovered her composure, 
she questioned and defended him against the iUwill 
and rising j ealousy of the king . When she wished to 
see the countless host of workmen that wrought at 
the temple, Solomon protested the impossibility of 
assembling them all at once; but Hiram, leaping on a 
stone to be better seen, with his right hand described 
in the air the symbolical Tau, and immediately the 
men hastened from all parts of the works into the 
presence of their master; at this the queen won- 
dered greatly, and secretly repented of the promise 
she had given the king, for she felt herself in love 
with the mighty architect. Solomon set himself to 
destroy this affection, and to prepare his rival's 
humiliation and ruin. For this purpose, he employed 
three fellow- crafts, envious of Hiram, because he 
had refused to raise them to the degree of masters, on 
account of their want of knowledge and their idleness. 
They were Fanor, a Syrian and a mason ; Amru, a 
Phoenician and a carpenter ; and Metusael, a He- 
brew and a miner. The black envy of these three 
projected that the casting of the brazen sea, which 
was to raise the glory of Hiram to its utmost height, 
should turn out a failure. A young workman, 
Benoni, discovered the plot and revealed it to 
Solomon, thinking that sufficient. The day for the 
casting arrived, and Balkis was present. The doors 
that restrained the molten metal were opened, and 

The Legend of the Temple. 243 

torrents of Kqind fire poured into the vast mould 
wherein the brazen sea was to assume its form. But 
the burning mass ran over the edges of the mould, 
and flowed like lava over the adjacent places. The 
terrified crowd fled from the advancing stream of 
fire. Hiram, calm, like a god, endeavoured to arrest 
its advance with ponderous columns of water, but 
without success. The water and the fire mixed, and 
the struggle was terrible ; the water rose ia dense 
steam and fell down in the shape of fiery rain, 
spreading terror and death. The dishonoured 
artificer needed the sympathy of a faithful heart ; he 
sought Benoni, but ia vain; the proud youth perished 
in endeavouring to prevent the horrible catastrophe 
when he found that Solomon had done nothing to 
hinder it. 

Hiram could not withdraw himself from the scene . 
of his discomfiture. Oppressed with grief, he heeded 
not the danger, he remembered not that this ocean of 
fire might speedily engulph him ; he thought of the 
Queen of Sheba, who came to admire and congratu- 
late him on a great triumph, and who saw nothing 
but a terrible disaster. Suddenly he heard a 
strange voice coming from above, and crying, 
" Hiram, Hiram, Hiram ! " He raised his eyes and 
beheld a gigantic human figure. The, apparition 
continued : " Come, my son, be without fear, I have 
rendered thee incombustible ; cast thyself into the 
flames." Hiram threw himself into the furnace. 

244 Secret Societies. 

and where others would have found death, he tasted 
ineffable delights ; nor could he, drawn by an irresis- 
tible force, leave it, and asked him that drew him 
into the abyss : " Wlither do you take me ? " " Into 
the centre of the earth, into the soul of the world, 
into the kingdom of great Cain, where liberty reigns 
with him. There the tyrannous envy of Adonai 
ceases ; there can we, despising his anger, taste the 
fruit of the tree of knowledge ; there is the home of 
thy fathers." " Who then am I, and who art thou ? " 
" I am the father of thy fathers, I am the son of 
Lamech, I am Tubal- Cain." 

Tubal- Cain introduced Hiram into the sanctuary of 
fire, where he expounded to him the weakness of 
Adonai and the base passions of that god, the enemy 
of his own creatiu-e whom he condemned to the 
inexorable law of death, to avenge the benefits the 
genii of firje had bestowed on him. Hiram was led into 
the presence of the author of his race, Cain. The 
angel of light that begat Caiu was reflected in the 
beauty of this son of love, whose noble and generous 
mind roused the envy of Adonai. Cain related to 
Hiram his experiences, sufferings, and misfortunes, 
brought upon him by the implacable Adonai. 
Presently he heard the voice of him who was the 
offspring of Tubal- Caiu and his sister Naamah : "A son 
shall be born unto thee whom thou shalt indeed not 
see, but whose numerous descendants shall perpe- 
tuate thy race, which, superior to that of Adam, shall 

The Legend of the Temple. 245 

acquire the empire of the world ; for many centuries 
they shall consecrate their courage and genius to the 
service of the ever ungratefulrace of Adam, but at last 
the best shall become the strongest, and restore on the 
earth the worship of fire. Thy sons, invincible in thy 
name, shall destroy the power of kings, the ministers 
of the Adonai's tyranny. Go, my son, the genii of 
fire are with thee ! " Hiram was restored to the earth. 
Tubal- Cain before quitting him gave him the hammer 
with which he himself had wrought great things, 
and said to him : " Thanks to this hammer and the 
help of the genii of fire, thou shaltspeedily accomplish 
the work left unfinished through man's stupidity 
and malignity.'' Hiram did not hesitate to test 
the wonderful efficacy of the precious instrument, 
and the dawn saw the great mass of bronze cast. 
The artist felt the most Hvely joy, the queen exulted. 
The people came running up, astounded at this secret 
power which in one night had repaired everything. 

One day the queen, accompanied by her maids, 
went beyond Jerusalem, and there encountered 
Hiram, alone and thoughtful. The encounter was 
decisive, they mutually confessed their love. Had- 
Had, the bird who filled with the queen the office 
of messenger of the genii of fire, seeing Hiram in 
the air make the sign of the mystic T, flew around 
his head and settled on his wrist. At this Sarahil, 
the nurse of the queen, exclaimed : " The oracle is 
fulfilled. Had-Had recognizes the husband which 

246 Secret Societies. 

the genii of fire destined for Balkis, whose love alone 
she dare accept ! " They hesitated no longer, but 
mutually pledged their vows, and deliberated how 
Balkis could retract the promise given to the king. 
Hiram was to be the first to quit Jerusalem; the 
queen, impatient to rejoin him in Arabia, was to elude 
the vigilance of the king, which she accomplished by 
withdrawing from his finger, while he was overcome 
with wine, the ring wherewith she had plighted her 
troth to him. Solomon hinted to the fellow- crafts 
that the removal of his rival, who refused to give 
them the master's word, would be acceptable unto 
himself; so when the architect came into the temple 
he was assailed and slain by them. Before his 
death, however, he had time to throw the golden 
triangle which he wore round his neck, and on which 
was engraven the master's word, into a deep well. 
They wrapped up his body, carried it to a solitary 
hiU and buried it, planting over the grave a sprig 
of acacia. 

Hiram not having made his appearance for seven 
days, Solomon, against his incUnation, but to satisfy 
the clamour of the people, was forced to have Tiim 
searched for. The body was found by three masters, 
and they, suspecting that he had been slain by the 
three fellow-crafts for refusing them the master's 
word, determined nevertheless for greater security 
to change the word, and that the first word acci- 
dentally uttered on raising the body should thence- 

The Legend of the Temple. 247 

forth, be the word. In the act of raising it, the skin 
came off the body, so that one of the masters ex- 
claimed " Macbenach ! " (the flesh is off the bones !) 
and this word became the sacred word of the master's 
degree. The three fellow-crafts were traced, but 
rather than fall into the hands of their pursuers, they 
committed suicide and their heads were brought to 
Solomon. The triangle not having been found on 
the body of Hiram it was sought for and at last dis- 
covered in the well into whicb the architect had cast 
it. The king caused it to be placed on a triangular 
altar erected in a secret vault, built under the most 
retired part of the temple. The triangle was further 
concealed by a cubical stone, on which had been 
inscribed the sacred law. The vault, the existence 
of which was only known to the twenty- seven elect, 
was then walled up. 



HE First Masons. — AU nations^ aU states, 
aU corporations, to increase their power 
and deduce from above their raison 
d'etre, attritute to themselves a very 
ancient origin. This wish must be aU the stronger 
in a society altogether ideal and moral, living the life 
of principles, which needs rather to seem to be, not 
coeval with, but anterior and superior to all others. 
£_Hence the claim set up by Freemasonry of being, 
not contemporary with the creation of man, but 
with that of the world; because light was before 
man, and prepared for him a suitable habitation, 
and light is the scope and symbol of FreemasonryT] 
Now in the Introduction (6, 7) I have stated that 
there was from the very first appearance of man on 
the earth a highly favoured and civilized race, 
possessing a full knowledge of the laws and proper- 
ties of nature, and which knowledge was embodied 

Origin. Traditions. 249 

in mystical figurea and schemes^ such as were 
deemed appropriate emblems for its preservation 
and propagation. These figures and schemes are 
preserved in Masonry, though their meaning is no 
longer understood by the fraternit^T] I shall en- 
deavour in these pages as much as possible to teach 
masons the real truths hidden under the symbols 
and enigmatical forms, which without a key appear 
but as absurd and debasing rites and ceremonies. 
[The aim of all the secret societies of which accounts 
have been as yet or will be given in this work, 
except of those which were purely political, was to 
preserve such knowledge as stiU survived, or to 
fecovet what _had been lost.' And since Free- 
masonry is, so to speak, the resume of the teachings 
of aU those societies, dogmas in accordance with 
one or mor& of those taught in the ancient mysteries 
and other associations are to be found in Masonry ; 
hence also it is impossible to attribute its origin to 
one or other specific society preceding it. /]i^ree- 
masonry is — or rather ought to be — the compen- 
dium of aU primitive and accumulated human 

194. Periods of Freemason/ry. — Masonic writers 
generally divide the history of the Order into two 
periods, the first comprising the time from its 
assumed foundation to the begiuning of the last 
century, during which the Order admitted only 
masons, i.e. operative masons and artificers in 

250 Secret Societies. 

some way connected with architecture. The second 
or present period^ they denominate the period of 
Speculative Masonry^ when the Order no longer 
chooses its members only amongst men engaged in 
the raising of material structures, but receives into 
its ranks all who are willing to assist in builduig a 
spiritual temple, the temple of universal harmony 
and knowledge. Yet persons not working masons 
had ere then been admitted, for the records of a 
Lodge at Warrington, as old as 1648, note the 
admission of Colonel Mainwaring and the great 
antiquary Ashmole. Charles I., Charles 11., and 
James II. also were initiated. JjMSut from what has 
been said above, it follows that true Masonry always 
was speculative, and that to deduce its origin from 
the ancient Dionysiac or any other kindred college 
is sheer nonsense. The name ''masonic" was 
adopted by the society on its reconstruction in the 
last century, because the brotherhood of builders 
who erected the magnificent ' cathedrals and other 
buildings that arose during the middle ages, had 
lodges, degrees, landmarks, secret signs, and pass- 
words, such as the builders of the temple of Solomon 
are said to have made use of. The Freemasons have 
also frequently been said to be descended from the 
Kiiights Templars, and thus to have for their object 
to avenge the destruction of that Order, and so to 
be dangerous to Church and State ; yet this asserv' 
tion was repudiated as early as 1535 in the " Charter j 

Origin. Traditions. 251 

of Cologne," whet-ein the Masons call themselves 
the Brethren of St. John, because St. John the 
Baptist was the forerunner of the Light. According 
to the same document the name of Freemasons was 
first given to the Brethren chiefly iu Flanders, 
because some of them, had been instrumental in 
erecting iu the province of Haiaault hospitals for 
persons suffering from St. Vitus' s dance. And 
though some etymologists pretend the name to be 
derived from massa, a club, with which the door- 
keeper was armed to drive away uninitiated in- 
truders, we can only grant this etymology on the 
priaciple enunciated by Voltaire, that in etymology 
vowels go for very little, and consonants for nothing 
at all. 

/, ~~195. Freemasonry derived from many Sowrces. — 
,But considering that Freemasonry is a tree the roots 
of which spread through so many soils, it follows that 
traces thereof must be found in its fruit ; that its 
language and ritual should retain much of the 
I various sects and iastitutions it has passed through 
(before arriving at their present state, and in 
Masonry we meet with Indian, Egyptian, Jewish, 
'and Christian ideas, terms, and symbols. 




IIST of Bites. — Anciently, that is, before 
the rise of modem Masonry at the be- 
ginning of the last century, there was 
but one rite, that of the " Ancient, Free 
and Accepted Masons," or blue or symbolic Ma- 
sonry ; but vanity, fancy or interest soon led to the 
introduction of many new rites or modifications of 
the three ancient degrees. The following are the 
names of the rites now practised in Europe and 
America : — 

I. Tork Rite, or Craft Masonry, of which an 
account will be given (205) . — In America it 
consists of seven degrees : — The first three as in this 
country; 4. Mark Master; 5. Past Master; 6. 
Most Excellent Master ; 7. Holy Royal Arch. All 
these also obtain in this country ; the Royal Arch, 
being the most important, wiU be treated of in 
full (211). 

Rites and Customs. 253 

II. French or Modern Eite. — It consists of seven 
degrees : — The first threethe sameas in Craft Ma- 
sonry; 4. Elect; 6. Scotch Master ; 6. Ejoight of 
the Bast; 7. Eose Croix. They are all astro- 

III. Ancient and Accepted Scotch Eite. — It was 
organized in its present form in France early in 
the last centuryj though it deriyes its title from 
the claim of its founders, that it was originally in- 
stituted in Scotland. It is, next to the York rite, 
the most widely diffused throughout the masonic 
world. The administrative power is vested in 
Supreme Grand Councils, and the rite consists of 
thirty-three degrees, of which the 30th, Grand Elect 
Knight of Kadosh, is the most interesting, and par- 
ticulars of which will be given under a separate 
head (214) . 

IV. The Ancient and Primitive Eite of Masonry 
or Order of Memphis : Privileges, Priaciples, and 
Prerogatives. — The Ancient and Primitive Eite of 
Masonry works thirty-three degrees, divided iato 
three sections, embracing modern, chivalric, and 
Egyptian Masonry, as the latter was worked on the 
continent last century. The first section teaches 
morality, symbols, and philosophical research ; and 
contains the degrees to Eose Croix (11-18°). The 
second section teaches science, philosophy, and 
political myth, and developes the sympathetic senses ; 
it contains the degrees of a senate of hermetic phi- 

254 Secret Societies. 

losophers to grand inspector (18-33") . Tte third 
section contains tlie Egyptian degrees, and occupies 
itself with high philosophy and religious myth. The 
Order rewards merit by sis decorations : — 1st, The 
Grand Star of Sinus ; 2nd, the Decoration of Alidee; 
3rd, the Decoration of the Grand Comm.ander of the 
third series ; 4th, the Lybic Chain ; 5th, the Deco- 
ration of Bleusis ; 6th, the Star of Merit in bronze, 
for the reward of literary merit and presence of mind 
and bravery either in Masons or non-Masons. These 
orders of chivalry, and aU other high degrees of 
Masonry, are specially authorized by the laws of the 
Grand Lodge of England in the "Articles of Union" 
of 1813. The Order recognizes the degrees of all 
other rites, when legitimately obtained, so that a 
brother who has the Eose Croix, Kadosh, or Grand 
Inspector, or any other degree analogous to this 
rite under any other authority, may visit and par- 
ticipate in the same degrees of ancient and primitive 
~ Masonry. 

It admits brethren of every and all political and 
religious creeds, for by the American revision of 
1865, the Hindoo, the Parsee, the Jew, the Trini- 
tarian and Unitarian Christian, the Mahommedan, 
&c., may attend its sublime ceremonies and lectures 
without any sacrifice of principle or of private con- 
vction, the rite breathing only pure Masonry — 
charity, love, and mutual tolerance — whilst adoriag 
the Sublime Architect of the Universe, inculcating 

Rites und Customs. 255 

the immortality of the soul, and endless happiness 
for the good brother. 

It embraces a far more extensive ritual of work- 
able degrees than any other rite, every one of its 
thirty-three degrees having its appropriate and 
elaborate ceremonial easily arranged for conferment, 
and its titles are purged of ridiculous pretensions. 

Its government is strictly representative, as in 
our own political constitution. The 32° and 31° 
are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th officers of the Chapter, 
Senate, and Council, and form the Mystic Temple 
and Judicial Tribunal, the presiding officer, or 
Grand Master of Light, having the thirty-third de- 
gree to enable him to represent the province in the 
Sov. Sane. (33-95°) or ruling body. 

The Order relies more fully upon masonic worth, 
ability, and learning, than social standing and 
mere monetary qualifications, and seeks to extend 
masonic knowledge, justice, and morality. It 
levies only a small capitation fee upon each member 
admitted, to be hereafter devoted to charity and 
good works. 

It admits Master Masons only in good standing 
under some constitutional Grand Lodge, and pro- 
hibits all interference ,with Craft Masonry, upon 
which its own thirty ceremonies form, and are in- 
tended to constitute, the most valuable and learned 
system of lectures extant ; cultivating charity, toler- 
ance, and brotherly love in the Masonic Order, and 

256 Secret Societies. 

entering into no entangling alliances wliicli too often 
prove their destruction. 

Its watchword — Defence, not Defiance — main- 
taining the individual right of any brother to join 
any outside organization of Masonry suited to his 
religious or political opinions, and protesting against 
all interference of sectarian organizations. 

V. Philosophic Scotch rite. 

VI. Primitive Scotch rite, practised in Belgium. 

VII. Ancient Reformed rite, 
vni. Pessler's rite. 

IX. Rite of the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes 
at Berlin. 

X. Rite of Perfection. 

XI. Rite of Misraim (223) . 

XII. Rite of the Order of the Temple. 

XIII. Swedish rite. 

XIV. Reformed rite. 

XV. Schroeder's rite. 

XVI. Rite of Swedenborg (see Book ix.) . 

XVII. Rite of Zinnendorf. Count Zinnendorf, 
physician of the emperor Charles VI., invented this 
rite, which was a modification of the Eluminism of 
Avignon, adding to it the mysteries of Sweden- 
borg. His system consisted of seven degrees, 
divided into three sections: 1. Blue Masonry; 2. 
Red Masonry j 3. Capitular Masonry. The rite 
was never introduced into this country. 

197. Masonic Customs.-— Sonne masonic peculiari- 
ties may conveniently be mentioned here. Free- 

Rites and Customs. 257 

masons frequently attend in great state at the 
laying of the foundation stones of public buildings ; 
they follow a master to the grave^ clothed with all 
the paraphernalia of their respective degrees ; they ^ 
date from t he year o f Ught. The Knights oT'^Iog 
Sun, flie 28th degree~of"^e'^cotch rite, acknow- 
ledge no era, but always write their date with seven 
noughtsj 0,000,000. No one can be admitted into 
the masonic order before the age of 21, but an ex- 
ception is mg-de in this country and in France in 
favour of the sons of Masons, who may be initiated 
at the age of eighteen. Such a person is called a 
Lewis iu England, and a Louveteau in Prance. This 
latter word signifies a young wolf; and the reader 
will remember that in the mysteries of Isis the 
candidate was made to wear the mask of a wolf's 
head. Hence a wolf and a candidate in these 
mysteries were synonymous. Macrobius, in his 
" Saturnalia,'' says that the ancients perceived a rela- 
tionship between the sun, the great symbol of those 
mysteries, and a wolf; for as the flocks of sheep and 
cattle disperse at the sight of the wolf, so the flocks 
of stars disappear at the approach of the sun's light. 
And in Greek Xuxoj means both the sun and a 
wolf. There is a family of fellow-crafts that still 
derive their name from this idea. The adoption 
of the louvetecm into the lodge takes place with 
a ceremony resembling that of baptism. The 



Secret Societies. 

temple is covered with flowers, incense is burnt, 
and the godfather is enjoined not only to provide 
for the bodily wants of the new-bom member, but 
also to bring him up in the school of truth and 
justice. The child receives a new name, generally 
that of a virtue, such as Veracity, Devotion, Bene- 
ficence ; the godfather pronounces for him the oath 
of apprentice, in which degree he is received into 
the Order, which, in case he should become an 
orphan, supports and establishes him in Hfe. 

198. Masonic Alphabet. — The masonic alphabet 
preserves the angular character of primitive alphar 
bets. Thirteen characters (9 -\- 4) compose the 
masonic system of writing. Hence all the sounds 
can only be represented by means of points, in the 
following manner : — 










The letter a is written I ; the same sign with 
a dot in it. A, means 6. The sign ^ means m, 
and with a dot ^ , v. Masonic ^ abbreviations 
are always indicated by three dots, placed trian- 
gularly; thus, brother is abbreviated B .-. Lodge 
is written L .-. or Q.*.; in the plural LL .-. or 
[5I.-. Our common alphabet has an equally simple 

Eites and Customs. 


origin, as well as the Arabic numerals ; they are all 
contained in the figure — 

A, bie7>QI, tZ, ido7-L]> E, R, G, H, I, 

4 K L, M, N, a P. a K, X, T, 

UV,X,Y, Z,a I, Z, 2, 4 b, 

4. y, ^, ^. 



\NTEBIOB Arrangement of Lodge. — The 
arrangement of the lodge varies and 
■win vary according to periods and 
degreeSj hut certain general rules are 
always followed in its construction. In an ancient 
French catechism the lodge is thus described : The 
lodge must have a vaulted ceiling, painted blue and 
covered with golden stars, to represent the heavens. 
The floor is called a mosaic floor ; the term ''mosaic " 
being derived from Moses ; i. e. " drawn from the 
water," because by it§ variegated colours it repre- 
sents the earth as covered with flowers again after 
the withdrawal of the waters of the Nile. There are 
three windows, — one east, one west, and a third 
south. There must also be two or three ante- 
chambers, so that the profane may catch no gHmpse 
of what is going on in the lodge; and if some 
stranger should nevertheless intrude, the master 

The Lodge. 261 

exclaims, " It rains ! " and the lodge is ipso facto 
dissolyed. The lodge should be always hung with 
black ; the brethren take their places according to 
their rank ; the grand master in the east, the master 
in the south, and the novices at the north. WTien 
an apprentice is inade, the lodge is brightly illumi- 
nated. The grand master, seated in his place, wears 
on his neck, appended to a large ribbon, a small 
square and compasses; before him stands a table 
on which lie the Gospel of St. John and a small 
hammer. At his side are the two stewards, the first 
of whom wears a level and the second a plumb of 
gold or silver. The masters and fellow-crafts stand 
around with the apprentices, all wearing white aprons 
of lamb's skin, and each carrying a naked sword. 
On the floor are designed figures, representing the 
steps that led to Solomon's temple, and the tiwo 
pillars Jachin and Boaz, but which in reality sym- 
bolize the summer and winter solstices, the piUars 
of Hercules, the two pillars of Seth. Above are 
seen the sun, moon, and a large star. In the midst 
of the floor is a coffin, in which lies a man apparently 
dead, with his face turned'u|)ward and covered with 
his white apron smeared with blood, one hand resting 
on his breast, and the other extended towards the 
knee. In the corners of the room are substances 
easily combustible, such as sulphur, to kindle a fire 
instantaneously. This apparatus is somewhat altered 
when a fellow-craft or a master is to be made. 

262 Secret Societies. 

200. Modern Lodge. — The modem lodge is a large 
square hall, always, if possible, situated due east and 
west. Upon a dais ascended by three steps, opposite 
to the door of ingress, is seated the worshipM 
master; the altar is placed in the centre on four 
steps. A sky-blue canopy, dotted with stars, and 
having above it the shining triangle with the sacred 
name inscribed thereiu, covers the throne. To the 
left of the canopy is seen the sun, and to the right 
the moon. Another ornament is the blazing star, 
and the point within a circle, symbolizing the sun 
or the universe. A chest or ark also forms part of 
the masonic furniture. It represents the ark that 
was carried in the processions of ancient Egypt, and 
contained seeds of various plants, a winnowing fan, 
and Osiridis pudendum. To the west, at the sides 
of the door of ingress, stand two pillars of bronze, 
whose capitals represent pomegranates, and bearing 
on their fronts the initials J. and B. (Jachin and 
Boaz) . The senior and junior wardens sit near the 
two columns, having before them a triangular table, 
covered with masonic emblems. Around the lodge 
there are ten other pillars connected by an architrave 
with the two pillars above mentioned. On the altar 
are placed a Bible, a square, a pair of compasses, and 
swords J three candelabra with long tapers are placed, 
one at the east at the foot of the steps, the second 
at the west, near the first warden, and the third at 
the south. The room is surrounded with benches 

The Lodge. 263 

for the members. In the lodges called Scotchj and 
in English and American lodges, the canopy that 
covers the master's throne is of crimson silk. In 
the United States, the worshipful master wears a cap 
adorned with black feathers and a large cockade of 
the same colour. The senior and junior wardens 
are seated in niches with fringed drapery, and 
wear, like heralds, staves of ebony sculptured like 

201. Officers. — Besides the master and the 
wardens, who are figuratively called the three lights, 
the lodge has other officers — the orator, secretary, 
treasurer, master of the ceremonies, keeper of the 
seals, architect, steward, captain of the host, princi- 
pal sojourner, inner and outer guard or tyler, and 
others. Every official occupies a place assigned to 
him, and has his proper jewels and badges, like the 
Egyptian, Hebrew, and Greek priests. Thus beside 
the jewels already mentioned, the treasurer wears 
cross keys ; the secretary, cross pens ; the senior 
■deacon, a square and compass, with a sun in the 
centre ; the junior deacon, a square and compass, 
with a moon in the centre ; the steward, a cornu- 
copia ; the tyler, cross swords, &c. The names of 
most of the officers sufficiently indicate their duties ; 
those that do not will be explained as they>occur. 

202. Openmg the Lodge. — The meetings are 
generally held at night. The worshipful master, 
striking the altar with his maUet, "opens the 

264 Secret Societies. 

labours/' and after having ascertained that the 
lodge is tyledj he turns to the junior warden and 
says: " Brother junior warden, your constant place 
in the lodge ? " " In the south." " Why are you 
placed there ? " " To mark the sun at its meridian, 
to call the brethren from labour to refreshment, and 
from refreshment to labour, that profit and pleasure 
may be the result." " Brother senior warden, your 
constant place in the lodge ? " " In the west." 
"Why are you placed there ?" " To mark the setting 
sun; to close the lodge by the command of the 
worshipftd master, after seeing that every one has 
his just dues.^' "Why is the master placed in the 
east ? " " As the sun rises in the east to open and 
enliven the day, so the worshipftil master is placed 
in the east to open and enlighten his lodge, to 
employ and instruct the brethren." " At what hour 
are masons accustomed to begin their labours?" 
" At mid-day." " What hour is it, brother junior 
warden ? '' " It is mid-day." " Since this is the 
hour, and all is proved right and just, I declare the 
lodge open." The purely astronomical bearing of 
all this is self-evident, but will be more folly dis- 
cussed hereafter. 



f^ISTINGTION between Gewwine and Spu- 
rious Masonry. — Modern Freemasonry 
is divided into genuine and spurious. The 
former embraces the degrees of Entered 
Apprentice, Fellow- Craft, and Master Mason, which 
are known by the comprehensive name of Sym- 
bolic, and also of Blue Masonry, because the de- 
corations are of that colour, which Blue Masonry 
is the only Masonry acknowledged by the Grand 
Lodge of England ; the latter term is applied to 
aU other degrees. Without the Eoyal Arch degree 
Blue Masonry is incomplete, for we have seen in 
the Legend of the Temple that, through the murder 
of Hiram, the master's word was lost j that word is 
not recovered in the master's degree, its substitute 
only being given ; hence that lost word is recovered 
in the Eoyal Arch degree. Blue Masonry, in fact, 
answers to the lesser mysteries of the ancients. 

266 Secret Societies. 

■wherein in reality nothing but the exoteric doctrines 
were revealed ; whilst spurious Masonry^ or all sub- 
sequent degrees — for no one can be initiated into 
them who has not passed through the first three 
degrees — answers to the greater mysteries. 

204. Some Bites only deserve Special Mention. — 
It would be an useless and unprofitable task to fully 
detail all the ceremonies practised in the lodges of 
Blue Masonry; and I shall, therefore, confine myself 
to giving such particulars of the three degrees as 
are most characteristic of the institution. As to 
spurious Masonry, its almost countless degrees 
form an incoherent medley of opposite principles, 
founded chiefly on Christian traditions and institu- 
tions, orders of knighthood, contested theological 
opinions, historical events ; in fact, every important 
event or institution has afforded models for masonic 
mimicry. Of such as have been distinguished 
either by a philosophical spirit or influential action 
on the progress of mankind I shall speak at, some 
length. The reader will, however, bear in mind 
that the ceremonies vary in different lodges and 
different countries, and that much that follows must 
be taken as typical, being modified according to 
local and other conditions and circumstances. 




IEBEM0NIE8 of ImUaUon. The Appren- 
tice. — The novice that is to be initiated 
into the first or apprentice degree is 
led into the lodge building by a stranger, 
and introduced into a reinote chamber, where he is 
left alone for a few minutes. He is then deprived of 
all metal he has about him ; his right knee, and 
sometimes his left side, are uncovered, and the 
heel of his left shoe is trodden down. His eyes are 
bandaged, and he is led into the closet of reflec- 
tion, where he is told to stay without taking off 
the bandage, until he hears three knocks. At the 
signal, on uncovering his eyes he beholds on the 
walls hung with black inscriptions Hke the following : 
— " If idle curiosity draw thee hither, depart \" " If 
thou be afraid of being enlightened concerning thy 

268 Secret Societies. 

errors^ it profits thee not to stay here." " If thou 
value human distinctions, go hence ; here they are 
not known." After a deal of palaver between the 
brother who introduces the novice and the master, 
the candidate, having his eyes again bandaged and 
a cord passed round his neck, is introduced into 
the middle of the brethren, his guide pointing a 
naked sword to his breast. He is then questioned 
as to his object in coming hither, and on answering 
that he comes to' be initiated into the secrets of 
Masonry, he is led out of the lodge and back again 
to confuse him. A large square frame covered 
with paper, such as circus-riders use, is then brought 
forward and held by two brethren. The guide then 
asks the master : " What shall we do with the pro- 
fane ?" To which the master replies : " Shut him up 
in the cave." Two brethren seize the postulant and 
throw him through the paper-screen into the arms 
of two other brethren who stand ready to receive 
him. The folding doors, hitherto left open, are 
then shut with great noise, and by means of an iron 
ring and bar the closing with massive locks^ is 
imitated, so that the candidate fancies himself shut 
up in a dungeon. Some time then elapses iu sepul- 
chral silence. All at once the master strikes a 
smart blow, and orders the candidate to be placed 
beside the junior warden, and to be made to kneel. 
The master then addresses several questions to him, 
and instructs him on his duties towards the Order. 

Ceremonies of Initiation. 269 

The candidate is then .offered a beverage, with the 
iatimation that if any treason lurks in his heart, 
the drink will turn to poison. The cup containiag 
it has two compartments, the one holding sweet, 
the other bitter water ; the candidate is then taught 
to say : " I bind myself to the strict and rigorous 
observance of the duties prescribed to Freemasons ; 
and if ever I violate my oath" — (here his guide 
puts the sweet water to his lips, and having 
drunk some, the candidate continues) — " I consent 
that the sweetness of this drink be turned into 
bitterness, and that its salutary effect become for 
me that of a subtle poison." The candidate is then 
made to drink of the bitter water, whereupon the 
master exclaims : "What do I see ? What means 
the sudden alteration of your features ? Perhaps 
your conscience belies your words ? Has the sweet 
drink already turned bitter ? Away with the pro- 
fane ! This oath is only a test ; the true one comes 
after." The candidate persisting nevertheless in his 
determination, he is led three times round the 
lodge ; then he is dragged over broken chairs, 
stools, and blocks of wood ; this trial over, he is told 
to mount the " endless stairs," and having, as he 
supposes, attained a great height, to cast himself 
down, when he only falls a few feet. This trial 
is accompanied by great noise, the brethren striking 
on the attributes of the order they carry in then- 
hands, and uttering all kinds of dismal shouts. As 

270 Secret Societies. 

a further trial, he is then passed through fire, 
rendered harmless by well-known conjuring tricks ; 
his arm is slightly pricked, and a gurgling noise 
being produced by one of the brethren, the candi- 
date fancies that he is losing much blood. Finally, 
he takes the oath, the brethren standing around 
him with drawn swords. The candidate is then led 
between the two pillars, and the brethren place 
their swords against his breast. The master of the 
ceremonies loosens the bandage without taking it 
off. Another brother holds before Tiim a lamp that 
sheds a brilliant light. The m^aster resumes ; 
" Brother senior warden, deem you the candidate 
worthy of forming part of our society ? " " Yes." 
" What do you ask for him ? " " Light." « Then 
let there be Hght ! " The master gives three blows 
with the maUet, and at the third the bandage is 
taken off, and the candidate beholds the light, 
which is to symbolize that which is to fill his under- 
standing. The brethren drop their swords, and 
the candidate is led to the altar, where he kneels, 
whilst the master says : " In the name of the Grand 
Architect of the universe, and by virtue of the 
powers vested in me, I create and constitute thee 
masonic apprentice and member of this lodge." 
Then striking three blows with his mallet on the 
blade of the sword, he raises the new brother, girds 
him with the apron of white Iambus skin, gives him 
a pair of white gloves to be worn in the lodge, and 

Ceremonies of Initiation. 271 

another to be given to the lady he esteems best. 
He is then again led between the two pillars, and 
received by the. brethren as one of them. 

206. Geremonies of Imtiation. The Fellow- Or aft. 
— The second degree of symbolic JFreemasonry 
is that of fellow-craft. The apprentice, who aaka , 
for an increase of salary, is not conducted to the 
lodge like the profane by an unknown brother, 
nor are his eyes bandaged, because the Hght was 
made for him, but moves towards the lodge hold- 
ing in his hand a rule, one of whose ends he 
rests on the left shoulder. Having reached the 
door, he gives the apprentice's knock, and having 
been admitted and declared the purpose for which 
he comes, he .five times perambulates the lodge, 
whereupon he is told by the master to perform his 
last apprentice's work. He then pretends to square 
the rough ashlar. After a deal of instruction, very 
useless and pointless, he takes the oath, in which 
he swears to keep the secrets entrusted to him. 
Then there follows some more lecturing on the part 
of the master, chiefly on geometry, for which 
Masons profess a great regard, and to which the 
letter G seen in the lodge within an irradiation or 
star is said to refer. 

207 . Ceremony of IniUaUon and Story of Mvram's 
Murder. The Master Mason. — At the reception 
of a master, the lodge or " middle chamber " 
is draped with black, with death's heads, skele- 

272 Secret Societies. 

tons, and cross bones painted on the walls. A 
taper of yellow wax, placed in the east, and 
a dark lantern, formed of a skull having a light 
within, which shines forth through the eye-holes, 
placed on the altar of the most worshipful master, 
give just sufficient light to reveal a coffin, wherein 
the corpse is represented either by a lay-figure, 
a serving brother, or the brother last made a 
master. On the coffin is placed a sprig of acacia, 
at its head is a square, and at its foot, towards the 
east, an o^en compass. The masters are clothed in 
black, and wear large azure sashes, on which are 
represented masonic emblems, the sun, moon, and 
seven stars. The object of the meeting is said to 
be the finding of the word of the master that was 
slain. The postulant for admission is introduced 
after some preliminary ceremonies, having his two 
arms, breasts, and knees bare, and both heels slip- 
shod. He is told that the brethren assembled aire 
mourning the death of their grand master, and 
asked whether perhaps he was one of the mur- 
derers ; at the same time he is shown the body or 
figure in the coffin. Having declared his innocence 
of any share in that crime, he is informed that he 
will on this occasion have to enact the part of 
Hiram (192), who was slain at the building of 
Solomon's temple, and whose history he is about to 
be told. The brother or figure in the coffin has in 
the meantime been removed, so that when the 

The Master Mason. 273 

aspirant looks at it again, lie finds it empty. The 
story of the murder of Hiram is then related. But 
the deed is not, as in the Legend of the Temple 
(192), attributed to Solomon's jealousy, but simply 
to Hiram's refusal to communicate the master's 
word to three fellow-crafts. The various incidents 
of the story are scenicaUy enacted on the postulant. 
"Hiram," the master contiuues, ''having entered the 
temple at noon, the three assassins placed them- 
selves at the east, west, and south doors, and Hiram 
refusing to reveal the word, he who stood at the east 
door cut Hiram across the throat with a twenty-four- 
inch gauge. Hiram flew to the south door, where 
he received similar treatment, and thence to the 
west door, where he was struck on the head with a 
gavel, which occasioned his death." The applicant, 
* at this part of the recital, is informed that he too 
must undergo trials, and is not to sink under the 
influence of terror, though the hand of death be 
upon him. He is then struck on the forehead and 
thrown down, and shams a dead man. The master 
continues : " The ruffians carried the body out at the 
west door, and buried it at the side of a hiU " — ^here 
the postulant is placed in the coffin — " in a grave, 
on which they stuck a sprig of acacia to mark the 
spot. Hiram not making his appearance as usual, 
Solomon caused search to be made for him by 
twelve trusty feUow-crafts that were sent out, three 
east, three west, three south, and three north. Of 


274 Secret Societies. 

the three who went east^ one being weary, sat down 
on the brow of a hill, to rest himself, and in rising 
caught hold of a twig " — ^here a twig of that plant is 
put into the hand of the aspirant lying in the coflBn 
— " which coming up easily, showed that the ground 
had been recently disturbed, and on digging he and 
his companions found the body of Hiram. It was 
in a mangled condition, having lain fourteen days, 
whereupon one of those present exclaimed Mae- 
benach ! which means ' the flesh is off the bones,' 
or 'the brother is smitten,' and became the 
master's word, as the former one was lost through 
Hiram's death ; for though the other two masters, 
Solomon, and Hiram king of Tyre, knew it, it 
could only be communicated by the three grand 
masters conjointly. The covering of the grave 
being green moss and turf, other bystanders ex-* 
claimed, Muscus domus, Dei gratia ! which accord- 
ing to Masonry is, "Thanks be unto God, our 
master has got a mossy house ! " The exclamation 
shows that the Hebrew builders of Solomon's 
temple possessed a faitiiliar knowledge of the Latin 
tongue ! The body of Hirani could not be raised 
by the apprentice's or fellow-craft's grip, but only 
by the master's, or the lion's grip, as it is called. 
AH this is then imitated by the master raising the 
aspirant in the coffin, who is then told the word, 
aigns, and grips, and takes the oath. 

208. The Legend explained. — Taken literally, the 

The Master Mason. 275 

story of Hiram would offer nothing so extraordi- 
nary as to deserve to be commemorated after three 
thousand years throughout the world by solemn 
rites and ceremonies. The death of an architect is 
not so important a matter as to have more honour 
paid to it than is shown to the memory of so many 
philosophers and learned men who have lost their 
lives in the cause of human progress. But history 
knows nothing of him. His name is only mentioned 
in the Bible^ and it is simply said of him that he 
was a man of understanding and cunning in working 
in brass. Tradition is equally silent concerning 
him. He is remembered nowhere except in Free- 
masonry ; the legend, in fact, is purely allegorical, 
and may bear a twofold interpretation, cosmological 
and astronomical. 

Cosmologically, we find represented therein the 
dualism of the two antagonistic powers, which is 
the leading feature of aU Eastern initiations.- The 
dramatic portion of the mysteries of antiquity is 
always sustained by a deity or man who perishes as 
the victim of an evil power, and rises again into a 
more glorious existence. In the ancient mysteries, 
we constantly meet with the record of a sad event, 
a crime which plunges nations into strife and grief, 
succeeded by joy and exultation. 

Astronomically, again, the parallel is perfect, and 
is in fact only another version of the legend of 
Osiris. Hiram represents Osiris, i. e., the sun. The 

276 Secret Societies. 

assassins place themselves at the west, south, and 
east doors, that is, the regions illuminated by the 
sun ; they bury the body and mark the spot with 
a sprig of acacia. Twelve persona play an im- 
portant part in the tragedy, viz. the three murder- 
ers (fellow-crafts), and nine masters. This num- 
ber is a plain allusion to the twelve signs of the 
zodiac, and the three murderers are the three inferior 
signs of winter. Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. 
Hiram is slain at the west door, the smi descends 
in the west. The acacia of Freemasonry is the 
plant found in all the ancient solar allegories, and 
symbolizing the new vegetation to be anticipated 
by the sun's, resurrection. The acacia being 
looked upon by the ancients as incorruptible, its 
twigs were preferred for covering the body of the 
god-man to the myrtle, laurel, and other plants 
mentioned in the ancient mysteries. ' Hiram's body 
is in a state of decay, having lain fourteen days; 
the body of Osiris was cut into fourteen pieces (47) . 
But according to other statements, the body was 
found on the seventh day ; this would allude to the 
resurrection of the sun, which actually takes place 
in the seventh month after his passage through the 
inferior signs, that passage which is called his descent 
into hell. Hiram can only be raised by the lion's 
grip. It is through the instrumentality of Leo 
that Osiris is raised ; it is when the sun re-enters 
that sign that he regains his former strength, that 

The Master Mdson. 277 

Hs restoration to life takes place. Masons in this 
degree call themselves the " children of the widoWj" 
the sun on descending into his tomb leaving nature 
— ^of which Masons consider themselves the pupils 
—a widow ; but the appellation may also have its 
origin in the Manichsean sect, whose followers were 
known as the " sons of the ■widow" (103) . 

209. The Bcdsing of Osiris. — A painting . found 
on an Egyptian mummy, now in Paris, represents 
the death and resurrection of Osiris, and the be- 
ginning, progress, and end of the inundation of the 
Nile. The sign of the Lion is transformed into a 
couch, upon which Osiris is laid out as dead ; under 
the couch are four canopi or jars of various capaci- 
ties, indicating the state of the Nile at different 
periods. The first is terminated by the head of 
Sirius, or the Dog- Star, which gives warning of the 
approach of the overflow of the river ; the second 
hj the head of the Hawk, the symbol of the Etesian 
wind, which tends to swell the waters ; the third 
by the head of a Heron, the sign of the south 
wind, which contributes to propel the water into 
the Mediterranean ; and the fourth by that of the 
Virgin, which indicates that when the sun had 
passed that sign the inundation would have nearly 
.subsided. To the above is superadded a large 
Anubis, who with an emphatic gesture, turning 
towards Isis, who has an empty throne on her head, 
intimates that the sun, by the aid of the Lion, had 

278 Secret Societies. 

cleared tte difficult pass of the tropic of Cancer, 
and was now in tlie sign of tlie latter; and, although 
in a state of exhaustion, would soon be in a con- 
dition to proceed on his way to the south. The 
empty throne is indicative of its being vacated by 
the supposed death of Osiris. The reason why the 
hawk represents the north wind is, because about 
the summer solstice, when the wind blows from 
north to south, the bird flies with the wind towards 
the south. (Job xxxis. 26.) The heron signifies the 
south wind, because this bird, living on the worms 
hatched in the mud of the Nile, follows the course 
of the river down to the sea, just as the south wind 
does. To know the state of the Nile, and there- 
fore their own personal prospects, the Egyptians 
watched the birds ; hence among other nations, who 
did not know the principle by which the Egyptians 
went, arose divination by the flight of birds.^ 

210. The Blazing Star. — The representation of a 

' Hamlet says, "I am but mad north-north-west; when 
the wind is southerly I kuow a hawk from a hand-saw." 
Thomas Oapell, the editor of the Oxford edition of Shake- 
speare, changes "hand-saw" to "hernshaw," which renders 
the passage intelligible ; for hernshaw is only another name 
for the heron ; and Hamlet, though feigning madness, yet 
claims sufiB.oient sanity to distinguish a hawk from a hern- 
shaw, when the wind is southerly — that is, in the time of 
the migration of the latter to the north — and when the 
former is not to be seen. 

The Master Mason. 279 

blazing star found in every masonic lodge, and 
wMch Masons declare to signify prudence^ — though 
why a star should have such a meaning they 
would be at a loss to tell — is the star Sirius, the 
dog-star, mentioned above, the inundation of the 
Nile occurring when the sun was under the stars 
of the Lion. Near the stars of the Cancer, though 
pretty far from the band of the Zodiac towards the 
south, and a few weeks after their rising, the Egyp- 
tians saw in the morning one of the most brilliant 
stars in the whole heavens ascending the horizon. 
It appeared a little before the rising of the sun; 
they therefore pitched upon this star as the infalli- 
ble sign of the sun's passing under the stars of 
Leo, and the beginning of the inundation. As it 
thus seemed to be on the watch and give warning, 
they caUed it "Barker," "Anubis," " Thot," all 
meaning the " dog." Its Hebrew name " Sihor" in 
Greek became " Seirios," and in Latin " Sirius." 
It taught the Egyptians the prudence of retiring 
into the higher grounds ; and thus Masons, ignorant 
of the origin of the symbols, yet give it its original 
emblematic signification. 



IFFICEBS.—The members of this degree 
are denominated "^compardons." There 
are nine officers, the chief of whom (in 
England) is Zernbhabel, a compound 
word, meaning " the bright lord, the sun." He 
rebuilds the temple, and therefore represents the sun 
risen again. The next officer is Jeshua, the high 
priest; the third, Haggai, the prophet. These three 
compose the grand council. Principals and senior 
and junior sojourners form the base ; B2!ra and Ne- 
hemiah, senior and junior scribes, one on each side ; 
janitor or tyler without the door. The compa- 
nions assembled make up the sides of the arch, 
representing the pillars Jachin and Boaz. In front 
of the principals stands an altar, inscribed with 
the names of Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and 
Hiram AbifiF. 

210. Ceremonies. — On entering the chapter, the 

The Holy Royal Arch. 281 

companions give the sign of sorrowj in imitation of 
the ancients mourning for the loss 'of Osiris. I^ine 
companions must be present at the opening of a 
royal arch chapter; not more nor less than three 
are permitted to take this degree at the same time, 
the two nimibers making up the twelve, the number 
of zodiacal signs. The candidates are prepared by 
tying a bandage over their eyes, and coiling a rope 
seven times round fhe body of each, which unites 
them together, with three feet of slack rope between 
them. They then pass under the living arch, which 
is made by the companions either joining their 
hands and holding them up, or by holding their 
rods or swords so as to resemble a gothic arch. 
This part of the ceremony used to be attended in 
some lodges with a deal of tomfoolery and rough 
horse-play. The companions would drop down on 
the candidates, who were obliged to support them- 
selves on their hands and knees ; and if they went too 
slowly, it was not unusual for one or more of the 
companions to apply a sharp poiat to their bodies 
to urge them on. Trials, such as the candidates 
for initiation into the ancient mysteries had to go 
through, were also imitated in the royal arch. 
But few if any lodges now practise these tricks, 
fit only for Christmas pantomimes. The candidates, 
after taking the oath, declare that they come in 
order to assist at the rebuilding of Solomon's temple, 
whereupon they are furnished with pickaxes, shovels, 
and crowbars, and retire. After a while, during 

282 Secret Societies, 

■whicli they are supposed to hare been at work and 
to have made a discovery, they return, and state 
that on digging for the new foundation they dis- 
covered ' an underground vault, into which one of 
them was let down, and found a scroll, which on 
examination turns out to be the long-lost book of 
the law. They set to work again, and discover 
another vault, and under that a third. The sun 
having now gained his meriddn height, darts his 
rays to the centre, and shines on a white marble 
pedestal, on which is a plate of gold. On this plate 
is a double triangle, and within the triangles some 
words they cannot understand ; they therefore take 
the plate to Zerubbabel. There the whole mystery 
of Masonry — as far as known to Masons — ^is un- 
veiled ; what the Masons had long been in search 
of is found, for the mysterious writing in a trian- 
gular form is the long lost sacred word of the 
Master Mason which Solomon and King Hiram 
deposited there, as we have seen in the master's 
degree (207). This word is the logos of Plato and 
St. John, the omnific word ; but another compound 
name, intended to bear the same import, is substi- 
tuted by modern Masons. It is communicated to 
the candidates in this way: — The three principals 
and each three companions form the triangles, and 
each of the three takes his left-hand companion by 
the right-hand wrist, and his right-hand companion 
by the left-hand wrist, forming two distinct triangles 
with the hands, and a triangle with their right feet. 

The Holy Eoyal Arch. 283 

amounting to a triple triangle, and tlien pronounce 
the foRowing words, each taking a line in turn : — 

As we three did agree, 

In peace, love, and unity, 

The sacred word to keep, 

So we three do agree. 

In peace, love, and unity, 

The sacred word to search,' 

Until we three, 

Or three such as we, shall agree 

This royal arch chapter to close. 

The right hands, still joined as a triangle, are 
raised as high as possible, and the word given at 
low breath in syllables, so that each companion has 
to pronounce the whole word. It is not permitted to 
utter this omnific word above the breath ; like the 
name ''Jehovah" or "Oum,^^ it would shake heaven and 
earth if pronounced aloud. Zerubbabel next makes 
the new companions acquainted with the five signs 
used in this degree, and invests them with the badges 
of Eoyal Arch Masonry — the apron, sash, and jewel. 
The character on the apron is the triple Tau, one of 
the most ancient of emblems, and Masons call it the 
emblem of emblems, " with a depth that reaches to 
the creation of the world and all that is therein." 
This triple Tau is a compound figure of three T's, 
caUed' Tau in Greek. Now this Tau or T is the 
figure of the old Egyptian kilometer, used to ascer- 
tain the height of the inundation. It was a pole 
crossed with one or more transverse pieces. As on 
the inundation depended the subsistence, the life 

284 Secret Societies. 

of the inhabitants, the Nilometer became the sym- 
bol of lifoj health, and prosperity, and was thought 
to have the power of averting evil. It thence 
became an amulet, and in this manner was intro- 
duced among masonic symbols. 

213. Passing the Veils. — In some chapters the 
ceremony called " passing the veils" is omitted, but 
to make the account of Royal Arch Masonry com- 
plete I append it here. The candidate is intro- 
duced blindfold, his knees bare, and his feet shp- 
shod, with a cable-tow round his waist. The high- 
priest reads Bxod. id. 1-6, and 13, 14, and the 
candidate is informed that " I am that I am'^ is the 
pass-word from the first to the second veil. He is 
also shown a bush on fire. He is then led to the 
second veil, which, on giving the pass-word, he 
passes, and beholds the figure of a serpent and 
Aaron's rod. The high-priest reads Exod. iv. 
1-5, and the candidate is told to pick up the rod 
cast down before him, that the act is the sign of 
passing the second veil, and that the pass-words 
are "Moses, Aaron, and Bleazar." He then passes 
the guard of the third veil. The high-priest reads 
Exod. iv. 6-9, and the candidate is informed that 
the leprous hand and the pouring out of the water 
are the signs of the third veil, and that " Holiness to 
the Lord" are the pass- words to the sanctum sancto- 
rum. He is shown the ark of the covenant, the 
table of shew-bread, the burning incense, and 
the candlestick with seven branches. Then follow 

The Holy Royal Arch. 285 

long lectures to explain the words and symbols^ but 
their puerility may be inferred from the following 
specimen : — " This triangle is also an emblem of 
geometry. And here we find the most perfect 
emblem of the science of agriculture ; not a partial 
one like the Basilidean^ calculated for one particular 
clime, but universal ; pointed out by a pair of com- 
passes issuing from the centre of the sun, and sus- 
pending a globe denoting the earth, and thereby 
representing the influence of that luminary over 
the creation, admonishing us to be careful to per- 
form every operation in its proper season, that we 
lose not the fruits of our labour." What a farmer 
would say to, or what profit he could derive from, 
this " universal science of agriculture," or whether 
he needs the " admonishing" symbol, I am at a 
loss to imagine. The triple Tau, according to the 
lecture, means templum Hierosolymce, also clavis ad 
ihescmrwrrh, res ipsa pretiosa, and several other 
thiags equally true. "But," continues the lec- 
turer, " these are all symbolical definitions of the 
symbol, which is to be simply solved into an 
emblem of science in the human mind, and is 
the most ancient symbol of that kind, the proto- 
type of the cross, and the first object in every 
religion or human system of worship. This is 
the grand secret of Masonry, which passes by 
symbols from superstition to science." How far 
all this is from the true meaning of the cross and 
triple Tau may be seen by reference to (49). 



\nE Term Kadosh. — This degree, the 
thirtieth of the ancient and accepted 
Scotch ritCj contains a beautiful astro- 
nomical allegory, and is probatly de- 
rived from Egypt. The term Kadosh means " holy" 
or " elect." (Every person in the East, preferred 
to a post of honour, carried a staff, to indicate that 
he was Kadosh, or elect, or that his person was 
sacred; whence eventually the name came to be 
applied to the staff itself, and hence the derivation 
of caduceus, the staff of Mercury, the messenger 
of the gods.) 

215. Reception mto the Degree. — There are four 
apartments; the initiation takes place in the fourth. 
They symbolize the seasons. The first apartment 
is hung with black, lit up by a solitary lamp of 
triangular form and suspended to the vaulted ceil- 
ing. It communicates with a kind of cave or closet 

Grand Elect Knight of Kailosh. 287 

of reflection, containing symbols of destruction and 
death. The candidate, after having been left there 
some timei, passes into the second apartment, which 
is draped with white ; two altars occupy the centre; 
on one is an urn filled with burning spirits of wine, 
on the other a brazier with live coal and incense 
beside it. The candidate now faces the sacrificing 
priest, who addresses some words of admonition to 
him, and having burnt some incense, directs him 
to the third apartment. It is hung with blue, 
and the vaulted ceiling covered with stars. Three 
yellow tapers light up this room. This is the 
areopagus. The candidate, having here given the 
requisite explanation as to the sincerity of his in- 
tentions and promises of secrecy, is introduced into 
the fourth apartment, hung with red. At the east 
is a throne surmoimted by a double eagle,, crowned, 
with outspread wings and holding a sword in his 
claw. In this room, lighted up with twelve yellow 
tapers, the chapter takes the title of " senate/^ the 
brethren are called "knights." In this room also 
stands the mysterious ladder. 

216. The Myst&rious Ladder. — It has seven steps, 
which symbolize the sun's progress through the 
seven signs of the zodiac from Aries to Libra both 
inclusive. This the candidate ascends, receiving at 
every step the explanation of its meaning from a 
hierophant, who remains invisible to the candidate, 
just as in the ancient mysteries the initiating priest 

288 . Secret Societies. 

remained concealed, and as Pytliagoras delivered 
his instructions from behind a veil. When the 
candidate has ascended the ladder, and is on the 
last step, the ladder is lowered and he passes over 
it, because he cannot retire the same way, as the 
sun does not retrograde. He then reads the words 
at the bottom of the ladder, Ne plus ultra. The 
last degree manufactured is always the we plus ultra, 
till somebody concocts one still more sublime, which 
then is the ne plus ultra, tiU it is superseded by 
another. What sublimity masonic degrees will 
yet attain, and where they will stop, no one can 

217. The Seven Steps. — The name of the first 
step is Isedakah, which is defined " righteousness," 
alluding to the sun in the vernal equinox in the 
month of March, when the days and nights are 
equal all over the world, and the sun dispenses his 
favours equally to aU. 

The second step is Shor-laban, " white ox " figu- 
ratively. This is the only step the definition of 
which is literally true, which, as it might lead to a 
clue to the meaning of the mysterious ladder, is thus 
falsely denominated figurative. Taurus, the bull, 
is the second sign of the zodiac, into which the sun 
enters on the 21st April. His entry into this sign 
is marked by the setting of Orion, who in mytho- 
logical language is said to be in love with the 
Pleiades ; and by the rising of the latter. 

Grand Elect Knight of Kadosh. 289 

The tliird step is called Mathoh, " sweetness." The 
third sign is Gemini, into which the sun enters in 
the pleasant month of May. " Canst thou hinder 
the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the 
bands of Orion ?" (Job.) Now, the Pleiades were 
denominated by the Romans Vergilice, from their 
formerly rising when the spring commenced, and 
their sweet influences blessed the year by the be- 
ginning of spring. 

The fourth step is Emunah, ''truth in disguise." 
The fourth sign is Cancer, into which the sun enters 
in June. Egypt at this period is enveloped in clouds 
and dust, by which means the sun, which figura- 
tively may be called truth, is obscured or dis- 

The fifth step is Hamal saggi, " great labour." The 
fifth sign is Leo. The great labour and difficulties 
to which the sun was supposed to be subject in 
passing this sign have already been alluded to 

The sixth step is Sabhal, " burden or patience." 
The sixth sign through which the sun passes is 
Virgo, marked by the total disappearance of the 
celestial Hydra, called the Hydra of Lema, from 
whose head spring up the Great Dog and the 
Crab. Hercules destroys the Hydra of Lerna, 
but is annoyed by a sea-crab, which bites him in 
the foot. Whenever Hercules lopped off one of the 
monster's heads two others sprang up, so that his 

290 SeQret Societies. 

labour would have been endless, bad be not ordered 
his companion lolas to sear the blood with fire. 

The seventh step is named Gemunah, Binah, 
JebvMah, "retribution, intelligence, prudence." The 
seventh sign is Libra, into which the sun enters at 
the commencement of autumn, iadicated by the 
rising of the celestial Centaur, the same that treated 
Hercules with hospitality. This constellation is re- 
presented in the heavens with a flask fall of wine 
and a thyrsus, ornamented with leaves and grapes, 
the symbols of the products of the seasons. The 
sun has now arrived at the autumnal equinox, 
bringing in his train the fruits of the earth ; and 
recompense is made to the husbandman in propor- 
tion to his prudence and iuteUigence. 

The ladder will remind the reader of the ladder 
of the Indian mysteriesj of the ladder seen by 
Jacobin his dream; the pyramids with seven steps'; 
and the seven caverns of various nations. 



\I8TINGT from Bosicrucian, and has 
various Names. — Thisj the eighteenth 
degree of the ancient and accepted 
Scotch rite, is one of the most gene- 
rally diffused of the higher degrees of Masonry. 
It is often confounded with the cabalistic and 
alchemistio sect of the Rosicrucians j but there is 
a great distinction between the two. The name 
is derived from the rose and the cross, and has no 
connection with alchemy ; the import of the rose has 
been given in another place. The origin of the 
degree is involved in the greatest mystery, as 
already pointed out. The degree is known by 
various names, such as " Sovereign Princes of Eose- 
Crois," " Princes of Rose- Croix de Heroden," and 
sometimes " Eoiights of the Eagle and PeKcan." 
It is considered the ne phbs ultra of Masonry, which 
however is the case with several other degrees. 

292 Secret Societies. 

219. Officers and Lodges. — The presiding officer 
is ycalled the " Ever Most Perfect Sovereign," and 
the two wardens are styled " Most Excellent and 
Perfect Brothers." The degree is conferred by a 
body called a " Chapter of the Sovereign Princes 
of Rose-Croixj" and in three apartments, the first 
representing Mount Calvary, the second the site and 
scene of the Eesurrection, and the third Hell. It 
win therefore be seen that it is a purely Christian 
degree, and therefore not genuine Masonry, but an 
attempt to christianize Freemasonry. The first 
apartment is hung with black, and lighted with 
thirty-three lights upon three candlesticks of eleven 
branches. Bach light is enclosed in a smaU tin 
box, and issues its light through a hole of an inch 
diameter. These lights denote the age of Christ. 
In three angles of the room, north-east, south-east, 
and south-west, are three pillars of the height of a 
man, on the several chapiters of which are inscribed 
the names of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Every lodge 
has its picture descriptive of its form, and of the 
proper place of its officers and emblems. On the 
east, at the south and north angles, the sun and 
moon and a sky- studded with stars are painted; 
the clouds, very dark. An. eagle is seen beating 
the air with his wings, as an emblem of the supreme 
power. Besides other allegorical paintings, there 
is also one of a cubic stone, sweating blood and 
water. On the stone is a rose, and the letter J, 

Prince of Bose- Croix. 293 

which means the expiring Word. The space round 
the picture^ representing the square of the lodge, is 
filled with darkness, to represent what happened at 
the crucifixion. Below it are all the ancient tools 
of masonry, with the columns divided and broken 
into many parts. Lower down is the TeU'of the 
temple rent in twain. Before the master is a Kttle 
table, Hghted by three lights, upon which the Gospel, 
compasses, square, and triangle are placed. All the 
brethren are clothed in black, with a black scarf 
from the left shoulder to the right side. An apron, 
white, bordered with black ; on the flap are a skull 
and cross-bones, between three red roses; on the 
apron is a globe surmounted by a serpent, and above 
the letter J. The master and the other ofl&cers 
wear on the neck a wide ribbon of black mohair, 
from which hangs the jewel, a golden compass, sur- 
mounted by a triple crown, with a cross between 
the legs, its centre being occupied by a full-blown 
rose ; at the foot of the cross is a pelican feeding 
its young from its breast ; on the other side is an 
eagle with wings displayed. The eagle is the 
emblem of the sun, the "sun of righteousness;" 
the pelican of course alludes to Christ shedding His 
blood for the human race ; the cross and the rose 
explain themselves. 

220. Beeeption in the First ApaHmemt. — The 
candidate is clothed in black, decorated with a red 
ribbon, an apron doubled with the same colour, and 

294 Secret Societies. 

a sword and scarf. After much preliminary cere- 
mony^ he is introduced into the apartment, and 
told by the master that the word that is lost and 
which he seeks cannot be given, because confusion 
reigns among them, the veil of the temple is rent, 
darkness covers the earth, the. tools are broken, &c. ; 
but that he need not despair, as they wiU find out the 
new law, that thereby they may recover the word. 
He is then told to travel for thirty-three years. 
The junior warden thereupon conducts him thirty- 
three times round the lodge, poiating out to him 
the three columns, telling him their names. Faith, 
Hope, and Charity, and bidding him remember 
them, as henceforth they must be his guides. After 
a little more talk, he is made to kneel with his right 
knee upon the Gospel and take the following oath : 
" I promise by the same obligations I have taken 
in the former degrees of Masonry never to reveal 
the secrets of the Knight of the Eagle, under the 
penalty of being for ever deprived of the true word ; 
that a river of blood and water shall issue conti- 
nually from my body, and under the penalty of 
suffering anguish of soul, of being steeped in vine- 
gar and gaU, of having on my head the most piercing 
thorns, and of dying upon the cross ; so help me 
the Grand Architect of the Universe." The candi- 
date then receives the apron and sash, both symbols 
of sorrow for the loss of the word. A dialogue 
ensues, wherein the hope of finding the word is 

Prince of Eose- Croix. 295 

foreshadowed ; whereupon the master and brethren 
proceed to the second apartment^ where they ex- 
change their black aprons and sashes to take red 

221. Second Apartment. — This apartment is hung 
with tapestry ; three chandeliers, with thirty-three 
hghtsj but without the boxeSj illuminate it. In 
the east there is a cross surrounded with a glory 
and a cloud ; upon the cross is a rose of paradise, 
in the middle of which is the letter G. Below are 
three squares, in which are three circles, having 
three triangles, to form the summit, which is alle- 
gorical of Mount Calvary, upon which the Grand 
Architect of the Universe expired. Upon this 
■summit is a blazing star with seven rays, and in 
the middle of it the letter G again. The eagle and 
pelican also re-appear here._ Below is the tomb. 
In the lower part of the square are the compasses,, 
drawing-board, crow, trowel, and square. The cubic 
stone,* hammer, and other tools are also repre- 

222. Beception in the Third Apartment. — But the 
second point of reception takes place in a third 
apartment, which is made as terrifying as possible, 
to represent the torments of hell. It has seven 
chandeliers with grey burning flambeaux, whose 
mouths represent death's heads and cross-bones. 
The walls are hung with tapestry, painted with 
flames and figures of the damned. The candidate, 

296 Secret Societies. 

on presenting himself as a searcher of the lost 
■word, has his sash and apron taken from him, as 
not humble enough to qualify him for the task, and 
is covered with a black cloth strewn with dirty 
ashes, so that he can see nothing, and informed 
that he will be led to the darkest of places, from 
which the word must come forth triumphant to the 
glory and advantage of Masonry. In this con- 
dition he is led to a steep descent, up and down 
which he is directed to travel, after which he is 
conducted to the door, and has the black cloth 
removed. Before hiTn stand three figures dressed 
as devils. He then parades the room three times, 
without pronouncing a word, in memory of the 
descent into the dark places, which lasted three 
days. He is then led to the door of the apartment, 
covered with black cloth, and told that the horrors 
through which he has passed are as nothing in 
comparison with those through which he has yet 
to pass ; therefore he is cautioned to summon aU 
his fortitude. But in reality all the terrible trials 
are over, for he is presently brought before the 
master, who asks : "Whence come you?" "From 
Judaea." — " Wiich way did you come ? " " By Naza- 
reth." — " Of what tribe are you descended ? " 
"Judah."— "Give me the four initials ?" "I.N.R.I." 
— "What do these letters signify?" "Jesus of 
Nazareth, King of the Jews." — "Brother, the 
word is found; let him be restored to light." 

Prince of Bose-Croix. 297 

The junior warden quickly takes off the cloth, 
and at the signal of the master all the brethren 
clap their hands three times and give three 
huzzas. The candidate is then taught the signs, 
grips, and pass-word. The master then proceeds 
to the instruction of the newly made Knight of the 
Eagle or Prince Eose- Croix, which amounts to this, 
that after the erection of Solomon's temple masons 
began to neglect their la-bours, that then the cubical 
stone, the corner-stone, began to sweat blood and 
water, and was torn from the building and thrown 
among the ruins of the decaying temple, and the 
mystic rose sacrificed on a cross. Then masonry 
was destroyed, the earth covered with darkness, 
the tools of masonry broken. Then the blazing 
star disappeared, and the word was lost. But 
masons having learnt the three words. Faith, Hope, 
and Charity, and following the new law, masonry 
was restored, though masons no longer built mate- 
rial edifices, but occupied themselves in spiritual 
buildings. The mystic rose and blazing star were 
restored to their former beauty and splendour. 



ANOMALIES of the Bite of Misraim.— 
Another of those diversities^ which may 
be called the constant attendants of 
the life of vast associations, is the rite 
of " Misraim." What chiefly distinguishes it from 
other rites, and renders it totally different from 
masonic institutions, is the supreme power given 
to the heads, whose irremovability we have seen 
abolished, in order to open the lodges to the forms 
of genuine democracy. This rite is essentially 
autocratic. One man, with the title of " Absolute 
Sovereign Grand Master," rules the lodges, and is 
irresponsible — an extraordinary anomaly in the. 
bosom of a liberal society to behold a member 
claiming that very absolute power against which 
Freemasonry has been fighting for centuries ! 

Rites of Misraim and Memphis. 299 

224. Organization. — The rite of Misraim was 
founded at a time when there was already a question 
of reducing the number of the Scotch rite of thirty- 
three degreeSj practically reduced to five. Then 
arose the rite of Misraim with ninety degrees, 
arranged in four sections, viz. 1. Symbolic, 2. 
Philosophic, 3. Mystical, 4. Cabalistic ; which were 
divided into seventeen classes. The rites are a 
medley of Scotch rites, Martinism, and Templar- 
ism, and the absolute grand masters arrogate to 
themselves the right of governing all masonic 
lodges throughout the world. The foundations of 
this system were laid at Milan in 1805, by several 
Masons who had been refused admission into the 
Supreme Grand Council. During the first year 
and for some time after postulants were only ad- 
mitted as far as the eighty- seventh degree; the 
other three, complementing the system, embraced 
the v/nknown superiors. Thus masonic degrees 
often served as a mask for the most opposed indivi- 
dualities, and unconsciously favoured the views and 
schemes of astute diplomatists and ambitious 

225. History and OonstituUon. — Prom Milan the 
order spread into Dalmatia, the Ionian Islands, and 
the Neapolitan territory, where it produced a total 
reform in a chapter of Eosicrucians, the "Con- 
cordia," estabhshed in the Abruzzi. It was not 
till 1814 that the rite of Misraim was introduced 

300 Secret Societies. 

into France, where the pompous denominations of 
its endless hierarchy met with no slight success. 
Never had such titles been heard of in Masonry: 
Supreme Commander of the Stars, Sovereign of 
Sovereigns, Most High and Most Powerful Knight 
of the Rainbow, Sovereign Grand Prince Hiram, 
Sovereign Grand Princes, &c., these were some of 
the titles assumed by the members. The trials of 
initiation were long and difficult, and founded on 
what is recorded of the Egyptian and Eleusinian 
mysteries. In the first two sections the founders 
of the rite seem to have attempted to bring to- 
gether all the creeds and practices of Scotch 
Masonry combined with the mysteries of Egypt; 
and in the last two sections all the chemical and 
cabalistic knowledge professed by the priests of that 
country, reserving for the last three degrees the 
supreme direction of the Order. Attempts were 
made to introduce it into Belgium, Sweden, and 
Switzerland, and also into Ireland, and latterly into 
England ; but everywhere it is in a languishing 
condition. The Grand Orient of Prance has never 
recognized the rite as a part of Masonry, though 
it has three lodges in Paris. 

226. Rites and Geremonies. — The Order celebrates 
two equinoctial festivals, the one called " The Ee- 
awakening of Nature," and the other, " The Eepose 
of Nature." In the sixty-ninth degree, designated 
as "Knight of Khanuka, called Hynaroth," particular 

Rites of Misraim and Memphis. 301 

instructions are given as to man's- relation to the 
Deity, and the cabalistic mediation of angels. In 
the ninetieth and last degree, the lodge is opened 
with the words " Peace to Men/' and the wish 
that all men might become proselytes of reason and 
true light. In this rite, altogether modern, we 
meet with gnostic and cabalistic words and conceits 
— a phenomenon which were impossible did not 
gnostic ideas permeate aU the veins of the masonic 

227. Rite of Memphis. — It is a copy of the rite 
of Misraim, and was founded at Paris in 1839, and 
afterwards extended to Brussels and Marseilles. 
It was composed of ninety-one degrees, arranged 
in three sections and seven classes. A large 
volume printed at Paris, with the ambitious title of 
''The Sanctuary," gives an account of aU the 
sections and their scope. The first section teaches 
morality and explains -the symbols ; the second in- 
structs in physical science, the philosophy of history, 
and explains the poetical myths of antiquity, its 
scope being to promote the study of causes and 
origins. The third and last section exhausts the 
story of the Order, and is occupied with high 
philosophy, studying the religious myth at the 
different epochs of mankind. 



IBIGIN. — We read that several lords of 
the Court of Louis XIV.j including the 
Duke de Gramontj the Marquis of 
Biran, and Count Tallard, formed a 
secret society, whose object was pleasure. The 
society increased. Louis XTV., having been made 
acquainted with its statutes, banished the members 
of the Order, whose denomination was, " A slight 
Resurrection of the Templars." 

229. Supposititious List of Grand Masters. — 
In 1705, Philip Duke of Orleans collected the re- 
maining members of the society that had renounced 
its first scope to cultivate politics. A Jesuit father, 
Bonanni, a learned rogue, fabricated the famous list 
of supposititious Grand Masters of the Temple 
since Molay, beginning with his immediate suc- 
cessor, Larmenius. No imposture was ever sus- 

Modern Knights Templars. 303 

tained with greater sagacity. The doCTiiiient 
offered all the requisite chstracteristics of authen- 
ticity, and was calculated to deceive the most ex- 
perienced palaeologist. Its object was to connect 
the new institution with the ancient Templars. To 
render the deception more perfect, the volume con- 
taining the false list was filled with minutes of 
dehberations . at fictitious meetings under false 
dates. Two members were even sent to Lisbon, 
to obtaia if possible a document of legitimacy from 
the " Knights of Christ," an Order supposed to 
have been founded on the ruins of the Order of 
the Temple. But the deputies were unmasked and 
very badly received : one had to take refuge in 
England, the other was transported to Africa, where 
he died. 

230. Revival of the Order. — But the society was 
not discouraged ; it grew, and was probably the 
same that concealed itself before the outbreak of 
the revolution under the vulgar name of the Society 
of the BulFs Head, and whose members were dis- 
persed in 1792. At that period the Duke of Cosse- 
Brissac was grand master. When on his way to 
VersaiLLes with other prisoners, there to undergo 
their trial, he was massacred, and Ledru, his 
physician, obtained possession of the charter of 
Larmenius and the MS. statutes of 1705. These 
documents suggested to him the idea of reviving 
the order ; Fabr^-Palaprat, a Freemason, was chosen 

304 Secret Societies. 

grand master. Every effort was made to create a 
belief in the genuineness of tlie Order. The brothers 
Fabr^j Arnal, and Leblond hunted up relics. The 
shops of antiquaries supplied the sword^ mitre, and 
helmet of Molay, and the faithful were shown his 
bones withdrawn from the funeral pyre on which 
he had been burned. As in the middle ages, the 
society exacted that aspirants should be of noble 
birth; such as were not were ennobled by the 
society. Fourteen honest citizens of Troyes on one 
occasion received patents of nobiHty and convincing 
coats of arms. 

231. The Leviticon. — The society was at &st 
catholic, apostolic, Roman, and rejected Protestants; 
but Fabre suddenly gave it an opposite tendency. 
Having acquired a Greek MS. of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, containing the Gospel of St. John, with read- 
ings somewhat differing from the received version, 
preceded by a kind of introduction or commentary, 
called " Leviticon," he determined, towards 1815, 
to apply its doctrines to the- society governed by 
him, and thus to transform an association, hitherto 
quite orthodox, into a schismatic sect. This Levi- 
ticon is nothing but the well-known work with the 
same title by the Greek monk, Nicephorus. He, 
having been initiated into the mysteries of the 
Sufites, who to this day, in the bosom of Mo- 
hamedanism preserve the dismal doctrines of the 
Ishmaelites of the lodge of Cairo (133), attempted 

Modern Knights Templars. 305 

to introduce these ideas into Christianity, and for 
that purpose wrote the " Leviticon," which became 
the Bible of a small number of sectaries ; but perse- 
cution put an end to them. This singular MS. was 
translated into French in 1822, and printed, with 
modifications and interpolations, by Palaprat him- 
self. This publication was the cause of a schism 
ia the Order of the Temple. Those knights that 
adopted its doctrines made them the basis of a 
new liturgy, which they rendered pubHc in 1833 in 
a kind of Johandite church ; but people only laughed 
at it. 

232. Ceremonies of Initiation. — The lodges in 
this degree are called encampments, and the oflBcers 
take their names from those that managed the 
original institution of the Knights Templars. The 
penal signs are the chin and beard sign and the 
saw sign. The grand sign is indicative of the 
death of Christ on the cross. There is a word, a 
grip, and pass-words, which yary. The knights, 
who are always addressed as " Sir Knights," wear 
knightly costume, not omitting the sword. The 
candidate for installation is "got up" as a pilgrim, 
with sandals, mantle, staff, cross, scrip, and wallet, 
a belt or cord round his waist, and in some encamp- 
ments a burden on his back, which is made to fall off 
at the sight of the cross. On his approach, an alarm 
is sounded with a trumpet, and after a deal of pseudo- 
military parley he is admitted, and a saw is applied 

306 Secret Societies. 

to his forehead by the second captain, whilst all the 
Sir Knights are under arms. The candidate, being 
prompted by the master of the ceremonies, declares 
that he is a weary pilgrim, prepared to devote his 
life to the service of the poor and sick, and to pro- 
tect the holy sepulchre. After perambulating the 
encampment seven times he repeats the oath, having 
first put away the pilgrim^s staff and cross and 
taken up a sword. In this oath he swears to defend 
the sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ against all 
Jews, Turks, infidels, heathens, and other opposers 
of the Gospel. " If ever I wilfully violate this my 
solemn compact,"" he continues, " as a Brother 
Knight Templar, may my skull be sawn asunder 
with a rough saw, my brains taken out and put in 
a charger to be consumed by the scorching sun, 
and my skuU in another charger, in commemoration 
of St. John of Jerusalem, that first faithfdl soldier 
and martyr of our Lord and Saviour. Furthermore, 
may the soul that once inhabited this skull appear 
against me in the day of judgment. So help me 
God." A lighted taper is afterwards put into his 
hand, and he circumambulates the encampment five 
times "in solemn meditation;" and then kneebng 
down is dubbed knight by the grand commander, 
who says, " I hereby instal you a masonic kjiight 
hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, 
Rhodes, and Malta, and also a Knight Templar." 
The grand commander next clothes him with the 

Modern Knights Templars. 307 

mantle^ and invests him -with the apron, sash, and 
jewelj and presents him with sword and shield. He 
then teaches him the so-called Mediterranean pass- 
word and sign. The motto of the Knight Templar 
isj In hoc signo vinees. In some of the encampments 
the following is the concluding part of the cere- 
mony: — One of the equerries dressed as a cook, 
with a white nightcap and apron and a large kitchen 
knife in his hand, suddenly rushes in, and, kneeling 
on one knee before the new Sir Knight, says, " Sir 
Knight, I admonish you to be just, honourable, and 
faithful to the Order, or I, the cook, will hack your 
spurs from off your heels with my kitchen knife." 
He then retires. Sometimes the spurs are hacked 
off by another personage, namely the Commissioner 
in Bankruptcy. Some few years ago an unfortunate 
encampment pitched in Bedford Row, London. 
Though the knights, no doubt, were very brave 
agaiast Turks, infidels, and all that sort of gentry, 
they could not face their creditors, who thereupon com- 
pelled the Order to make its last stand in BasinghaU 
Street — rather an inglorious end ; but, as one of the 
counsel observed, the Sir Knighta were probably all 
away in the Holy Land fighting for the recovery of 
the Holy Sepulchre, and so their affairs at home fell 
slightly into disorder. 




\BEI1MA80NRT in England. — The 
authentic history of Freemasonry, i. e. 
operative Masonry, in England dates 
from Athelstan, from whom his brother 
Edwin obtained a royal charter for the Masons, by 
which they were empowered to meet annually in a 
general assembly, and to have the right to regulate 
their own Order. And, according to this charter, 
the first Grand Lodge of England met at York in 
926, when aU the writings and records extant, in 
Greek, Latin, French, and other languages, were 
collected ; and constitutions and charges in con- 
formity with ancient usages, so far as they could be 
gathered therefrom, were drawn up and adopted. 
The Old York Masons were on that account held in 
especial respect, and Blue or genuine Masonry is 
still distinguished by the title of the York Rite. 

Freemasonry in England and Scotland. 309 

After the decease of Edwin, Athelstan himself pre- 
sided over the lodges; and after his death, the 
Masons in England were governed by Dunstan, 
Archbishop of Canterbury in 960, and Edward the 
Confessor in 1041. Down to the present time the 
grand masters have been persons of royal blood, 
sometimes the Mng himself. Till the beginning of 
the last century, as already stated (194), they were 
operative masons, and the monuments of their 
activity are still found aU over the land in abbeys, 
monasteries, cathedrals, hospitals, and other build- 
ings of note. There were, indeed, periods when 
the Order was persecuted by the state, but these 
were neither so frequent nor so long as in other 

234. Freemasonry in Scotland. — Tradition says 
that on the destruction of the Order of Templars, 
many of its members took refuge in Scotland, where 
they incorporated themselves with the Freemasons, 
under the protection of Eobert Bruce, who estab- 
lished the chief seat of the order at Eil winning. 
There is a degree of Prince of Rose- Croix de Hero- 
den, or H&edom, as ii is called in French. This 
Heroden, says an old MS. of the ancient Scotch 
Rite, is a mountain situated in the north-west of 
Scotland, where the fugitive Knights Templars found 
a safe retreat ; and the modern Order of Rose- Croix 
claims the kingdom of Scotland and Abbey of Kil- 
winning as having once been its chief seat of govern- 

310 , Secret Societies. 

ment. By some writers, however, it is asserted that 
the word H^rMom is simply a corruption of the 
Latin expression hmredAwm, signifying " an heri- 
tage," and alludes to the castle of St. Germain, the 
residence of Charles Stuart the Pretender, to fur- 
ther whose restoration the Order of Rose-Croix was 
iavented. The subject is in a state of iuextricable 
confusion, but scarcely worth the trouble of elucida- 
tion. King Robert Bruce endeavoured, like other 
princes before and after him, to secure for himself 
the supreme direction of those associations, which, 
though not hostile to the reigning power, could 
by their organization become the foci of danger. 
It is the common opinion that this king reserved 
for himself and his successors the rank of grand 
master of the whole Order, and especially of the 
lodge of H^r^dom, which was afterwards transferred 
to Edinburgh. 

235. Modern Freemasonry. — At the beginning 
of the last century the operative period of Masonry 
may be said to have come to an end. In 1716, there 
being then only four lodges existing in London, a pro- 
position was made and agreed to that the privilege 
of Masonry should no longer be restricted to opera- 
tive masons — we have seen that it had ere then been 
broken through (194) — but should extend to men of 
various professions, provided they were regularly 
initiated into the Order. Thus began the present era 
of Masonry, retaining the original constitutions, the 

Freemasonry in England and Scotland. 311 

ancient landmarks, symbols, and ceremonies. The 
society, proclaiming brotherly love, relief, and truth 
as their guiding principles, obtained a wider field 
for their operations, and more freedom in their 
mode of action. But to what does this action 
amount ? To eating, drinking, and mummery. 
There is nothing in the history of modern Masonry, 
in this country at least, that deserves to be re- 
corded. The petty squabbles between Lodges and 
Orders may help to fill masonic newspapers, bu* 
for the world at large they have no interest ; and 
as to any useful knowledge to be propagated by 
Masons, that is pure delusion. Yet, considering 
that the Order reckons its members by hundreds 
of thousands, its pretensions and present condition 
and prospects merit some consideration; and it 
must be admitted that its charities are administered 
on a somewhat munificent scale. In that respect 
honour is due to the craft. 



{NTRODUOTION into Frcmce. — Free- 
masonry was introduced into France, 
by the partisans of James and the 
Pretender, as a possible means of re- 
seating the Stuart family on the English throne. 
Not satisfied with turning masonic rites to un- 
foreseen and Ulegitimate uses, new degrees were 
added to those already existing, such as those of 
"Irish Master," "Perfect Irish Master," and 
" Puissant Irish Master," and by promises of the 
revelation of great secrets and leading them to 
believe that Freemasons were the successors of the 
Knights Templars, the nobility of the kingdom 
were attracted towards the Order and HberaUy 
supported it with their means and influence. The 
first lodge established in France was that of Dun- 
kirk (1721), under the title of "Friendship and 
Fraternity." The second, whose name has not 

Freemasonry in France. 313 

been handed down, was founded in Paris in 1725 
by Lord Derwentwater. Other followers of the 
Pretender established other lodges, of all which 
Lord Derwentwater was the grand master, until 
that nobleman lost his life for his devotion to the 
cause of the Stuarts. 

237. Chevalier Bamsay. — The Chevalier Ramsay, 
also a devoted adherent of the house of Stuart, 
endeavoured more effectually to carry out the views 
of his predecessors, and in 1728 attempted iu Lon- 
don to lay the basis of a masonic reform, according 
to which the masonic legend referred to the violent 
death of Charles L, while CromweU and his partisans 
represented the assassins to be condemned in the 
lodge. He therefore proposed to the Grand Lodge 
of England to substitute in the place of the first 
three degrees those of Scotch Mason, Novice, -and 
Knight of the Temple, which he pretended to be 
the only true and ancient ones, having their ad- 
ministrative centre in the Lodge of St. Andrew at 
Edinburgh. But the Grand Lodge at once rejected 
his views, whose objects it perceived. Ramsay went 
to Paris, where he met with great success. His 
system gave rise to those higher degrees which have 
since then been known by the name of the Ancient 
Scotch Rite. Many of these innovations made up 
for their want of consistency with masonic traditions 
by splendour of external decorations and gorgeous- 
ness of ceremonies. But the hautes grades of the 

314 Secret Societies. 

Prenolij and the philosophic degrees of the Ancient 
Scotch Eite^ are not innovations^ but illustrations of 
pure symbolic Masonry. 

238. Philosophical Eites. — Philosophy indeed 
began to insinuate itself into Masonry, simplifying 
the rites and purifying its doctrines. Among the 
philosophic degrees then introduced, that of the 
" Knights of the Sun'^ is noteworthy. Its declared 
scope was to advocate natural, in opposition to re- 
vealed, religion. There is but one Hght in the lodge, 
which shines from behind a globe of water, to repre- 
sent the sun. It has some resemblance to the 
" Sublime Knight Elected." But on the other hand, 
by these innovations systems multiplied, and the 
Order served as a pretext and defence of institu- 
tions having no connection with Masonry. Cabala, 
magic, conjuration, divination, alchemy, and demon- 
ology, were taught in the lodges. These abuses led 
to the establishment of an administrative centre at 
Arras in 1747. Another was founded at Marseilles 
in 1751. Three years afterwards the Chevalier de 
Bonneville founded in Paris a chapter of the high 
degrees, with the title, afterwards become famous, 
of the " Chapter of, Clermont,'^ and lodged it in a 
sumptuous palace built by him in a suburb of Paris. 
The system adopted was to some extent that of 
Ramsay. Another chapter, in opposition to his, 
was founded in 1762, with the title of " Council 
of the Knights of the Bast." In 1766, the Baron 

Freemasonry in 'France. 315 

Tsclmdy founded the Order of the " Blazing Star/' 
in wMch ideas derived from the Temple and the 
Jesuits were strangely intermingled. 

239. The Duke de Ghartres. — Freemasonry in 
Prance was not without iafluence on the Revolu- 
tion. The Duke de Ghartres having been elected 
grand master, all the lodges were united under 
the Grand Orient ; hence the immense influence he 
afterwards wielded. The mode of his initiation is 
thus related : — ^Before becoming grand master he 
was received into the degree of Knight of Kadosh. 
Five brethren introduced him into a hall, repre- 
senting a grotto strewn with human bones, and 
lighted up with sepulchral lamps. In one of the 
angles was a lay figure covered with royal insignia. 
The introducers bade him lie down on the ground 
like one dead, naming the degrees through which 
he had already passed, and repeating the former 
oaths. Afterwards, they extolled the degree into 
which he was about to be received. Having bidden 
him to rise, he was made to ascend a high ladder, and 
to throw himself from the top. Having then armed 
him with a dagger, they commanded him to strike 
the crowned figure, and a liquid, resembling blood, 
spurted from the wound over his hands and clothes. 
He was then told to cut off the head of the figure. 
Finally, he was informed that the bones with which 
the cave was strewn came from the body of James 
Molay, Grand Master of the Order of the Temple, 

316 Secret Societies. 

and that the man whom he had stabbed was Phihp 
the Fair, King of Prance, The Grand Orient was 
established in a mansion formerly belonging to the 
Jesuits in Paris, and became a revolutionary centre. 
The share the Grand Orient, the tool of the Duke 
de Chartres, took in the events of the French Revo- 
lution is matter of history. 



?ESUITIGAL Iw/wence. — Catholic cere- 
monieSj unknown in ancient Freema- 
sonry, were introduced from 1735 to 
1740, in tlie Chapter of Clermontj so 
called in honour of Louis of Bourbon, Prince of 
Clermont, at the time grand master of the Order 
in France. From that time, the influence of the 
Jesuits on the fraternity made itself more and more 
felt. The candidate was no longer received in a 
lodge, but in the city of Jerusalem ; not the ideal 
Jerusalem, but a clerical Jerusalem, typifying Rome. 
The meetings were called Oapitula OanoTdcormn, 
and a monkish language and asceticism prevailed 
therein. In the statutes is seen the hand of James 
Lainez, the second general of the Jesuits, and the 
aim at universal empire betrays itself, for at the 

318 Secret Societies. 

reception of tlie sublime knights tlie last two 
chapters of the Apocalypse are read to the candi- 
date — a glowing picture of that universal monarchy 
which the Jesuits hoped to establish. The sect 
spread very rapidly, for when Baron Hunde came 
to Paris in 1742, and was received into the highest 
Jesuit degrees, he found on his return to Germany 
that those degrees were already estabHshed in 
Saxony and Thuringia, under the government of 
Marshall, whose labours he undertook to promote. 

241. The Strict Ohservance. — From the exertions 
of these two men arose the "Eite of Strict Ob- 
servance," which seemed also for a time intended 
to favour the tragic hopes of the House of Stuart ; 
for Marshall, having visited Paris in 1741, there 
entered into close connection with Ramsay and the 
other adherents of the exiled family. To farther 
this object, Hunde mixed up with the rites of Cler- 
mont what was known or supposed to be known of 
the statutes of the Templars, and acting in concert 
with Marshall, overran Germany with a sect of new 
Templars, not to be confounded with the Templars 
that afterwards joined the masonic fraternity. 
But Hunde seems after aU to have rendered no 
real services to the Stuarts ; though when Charles 
Edward visited Germany, the sectaries received him 
in the most gallant manner, promising him the most 
extensive support, and asking of him titles and 
estates in a kingdom which lie had yet to conquer. 

The Chapter of Clermont. 319 

Thus lie was brought to that state of mental in- 
toxication which afterwards led him to make an 
absurd entry into Rome, preceded by heralds who 
proclaimed him king. Hunde seems, in the sad 
story of the Stuarts, to have acted the part of a 
speculator; and the rite of the Strict Observance, 
permeated by the Jesuitical leaven, had probably 
an aim very different from the re-establishment of 
the proscribed dynasty. It is certain that at one 
time the power of the New Templars was very 
great, and prepared the way for the jQluminati. 



\BGANIZATION of Relaxed Observance. 
— In 1767, there arose at Vienna a 
scMsm of the Strict Observance ; the 
dissentients, who called themselves 
" Clerks of the Relaxed Observance," declaring 
that they alone possessed the secrets of the associa- 
tion, and knew the place where were deposited the 
splendid treasures of the Templars. They also 
claimed precedence not only over the rite of Strict 
Observance, but also over all Masonry. Their 
promises and iastructions revolved around the 
philosopher's stone, the government of spirits, and 
the millennium. To be initiated it was necessary 
to be a Roman Catholic, and to have passed through 
all the degrees of the Strict Observance. The 
members knew only their immediate heads ; but 
Doctor Stark, of Konigsberg, a famous preacher, 

The Relaxed Observance. 321 

and Baron Eaven, of Mecklenburg, were well- 
known chiefs of the association. 

243. Disputes m German Lodges. — Before the 
establishment of the Strict Observance various 
German lodges had already introduced the Templar 
system; hence disputes of aU kinds arose, and a 
convention was held at Brunswick on May 22nd, 
1775, to arrange the differences. Dr. Stark pre- 
sented himself j he was a disciple of Schroepfer 
and of Gugumos, who called himself high priest, 
knight, prince, possessor of the philosopher's stone, 
of the secret to evoke the spirits of the dead, 
&c. Stark declared to the members of the con- 
vention that he was called Archimedes ah aqwila 
fulva, that he was chancellor of the Grand Chapter 
of Scotland, and had been invited by the brethren 
of that supreme body to instruct them in the true 
principles of the order. But when he was asked 
to produce his credentials, he refused. The Bruns- 
wickers, however, thinking that the brethren of 
Aberdeen might possess some secrets, sent a depu- 
tation thither ; but the good folks of Aberdeen 
knew even less than their German friends, for they 
knew only the first three degrees. Stark, though 
found out, was not to be put down, but wrote a 
book, entitled ''The Coping Stone," in which he 
represented the Strict Observance as hostile to re- 
ligion, society, and the state. 

244. Bite of Zmnendorf. — This was not the first 

322 Secret Societies. 

attack made on the system of Hunde. In 1766, 
Count Zinnendorf, chief physician in the Prussian 
army, who had been received into the Strict 
Observance, was struck from the list of members 
of the lodge of the Three Globes. In revenge, he 
founded at Berlin and Potsdam lodges on the 
Templar system, which, however, he soon aban- 
doned, and composed a new rite, invented by him- 
self, and consisting of seven degrees, which was 
protected by Frederick the Great. The new order 
made fierce and successful war both on the Strict 
and the Relaxed Observance. 

245. African Architects. — About 1765, Brother 
Von Kopper instituted in Prussia, under the 
auspices of Frederick II., the order of " African 
Architects," who occupied themselves with historical 
researches, mixing up therewith masonry and chi- 
valry. The order was divided into eleven degrees. 
They erected a vast building, which contained a 
large library, a museum of natural history, and 
a chemical laboratory. Until 1786, when it was 
dissolved, the society awarded every year a gold 
medal with fifty ducats to the author of the best 
memoir on the history of Masonry. This was one 
of the few rational masonic societies. The AMcan 
Architects did not esteem decorations, aprons, col- 
lars, jewels, &c. In their assemblies they read 
essays, and communicated the results of their re- 
searches. At their simple and decorous banquets 

The Relaxed Observance. 


instructiTe and scientifio diacoursea were delivered. 
While tlieir iaitiationa were gratuitous, they gave 
liberal aaaiatance to zealoua but needy brethren. 
They published many important worka on Free- 



\ABI0'n8 Congresses. — To put an end 
to the munerous disputes raging among 
masonic bodieSj various congresses were 
held . In 1 7 7 8 J a congress was convened 
at Lyons ; it lasted a monthj but was without result. 
In 1785, another was held at Paris, but the time 
was wasted in idle disputes with CagUostro. The 
last and most important was that which assembled 
at WUhelmsbad in 1782, under the presidency of 
the Duke of Brunswick, who was anxious to end 
the discord reigning among German Freemasons. 
It was attended by masons from Europe, America, 
and Asia. From an approximative estimate it 
appears that there were then upwards of three 
milHons of masons in the different parts of the 

247. Discussions at Wilhelmshad. — The state- 
ments contained in Dr. Stark's book, " The Coping 

The Congress of Wilhelmsbad. -325 

Stone'' (241) J concerning the influence of the 
Jesuits in the masonic body, formed one of the 
chief topics discussed. Some of the chiefs of the 
Strict Observance produced considerable confusion 
by being unable to give information concerning the 
secrets of the high degrees, which they had pro- 
fessed to know ; or to render an account of large 
sums they had received on behalf of the order. The 
main point was to settle whether Masonry was to 
be considered as a continuation of the order of the 
Templars, and whether the secrets of the sect were 
to be sought for in the mCdern Templar degrees. 
After thirty sittings, the answer was in the negative ; 
the chiefs of the Strict Observance were defeated, 
and the Duke of Brunswick suspended the order for 
three years, from which blow it never recovered. 
The Swedes professed to possess all the secrets; 
the Duke of Brunswick hastened to TJpsala to learn 
them, but found that the Swedes knew no more 
than the Germans; whence new dissensions arose 
between the masons of the two nations. 

248. Besult of GonvenUon. — The only result of 
the convention of Wilhelmsbad was the retention 
of the three symbolical degrees, with the addition 
of a new degree, that of the "Knight of Bene- 
ficence." The Duke of Brunswick represented 
the aristocratic element, and was thus opposed to 
Masonry, which in its spirit is democratic. The 
result of the congress strengthened the influence 

326 Secret Societies. 

of the duke 5 tence the opposition of Germany to 
the principles of the French Eevolution, which broke 
out soon after — an opposition which was like dis- 
charging a rocket against a thunderbolt, but which 
was carried to its height by the manifesto of the 
Duke of Brunswick, so loudly praised by courtly 
historians, and of which the German princes made 
such good use as to induce the German confederacy 
to surround France with a fiery line of deluded 
patriotism. Freemasonry had been made the tool 
and fool of prince- and priest-craft. 



'■^ASONBT protected by Napoleon. — With 
renewed court frivolities and military 
pomp, the theatrical spirit of Masonry 
revived. The institution, so active be- 
fore and during the Eevolution, because it was 
governed by men who rightly understood and 
worthily represented its principles, during the 
empire fell into academic puerilities, servile com- 
pliance, and endless squabbles. That period, which 
masonic writers, attached to the latter and pleased 
with its apparent splendour, call the most flourishing 
of French Masonry, in the eyes of independent 
judges appears as the least important and the least 
honourable for the masonic order. Napoleon at first 
intended to suppress Freemasonry, in which the 
dreaded ideologists might easily find a refuge. The 
representative system of the Grand Orient clashed 
with his monarchical principles^ and the oligarchy of 

328 Secret Societies. 

the Scotch rite aroused his suspicions. The Parisian 
lodges^ however, practised in the art of flattery, 
prostrated themselves before the First Consul, pro- 
strated themselves before the Emperor, and sued for 
grace. The suspicions of Napoleon were not dis- 
sipated ; but he perceived the policy of avoiding 
violent measures, and of disciplining a body that 
might turn against him. After considerable hesi- 
tation, he declared in favour of the Grand Orient, 
and the Scotch rite had to assume the second place. 
A single word of Napoleon had done more to estab- 
lish peace between them than all former machina- 
tions. The Grand Orient became a court office, 
and Masonry an army of employes. The Grand 
Mastership was offered to Joseph Napoleon, who 
accepted it, though never initiated into Freemasonry, 
with the consent of his brother, who, however, for 
greater security, insisted on having his trusty 
arch-chancellor Cambaceres appointed Grand Master 
Adjunct, to be in reality the only head of the order. 
Gradually all the rites existing in France gave in 
their adhesion to the imperial poHcy, electing Cam- 
baceres as their chief dignitary, so that he eventually 
possessed more masonic titles than any other man 
before or after him. In 1805, he was made Grand 
Master Adjunct of the Grand Orient j in 1806, Sove- 
reign Grand Master of the Supreme Grand Council; 
in the same year. Grand Master of the rite of Hero- 
den of Kilwinning J in 1807, Supreme Head of the 

Masonry and Napoleonism. 329 

Frenoli rite ; in the same year. Grand Master of the 
Philosophic Scotch rite; in 1808, Grand Master of 
the order of Christ ; in 1809, National Grand Master 
of the Knights of the Holy City; in the same year. 
Protector of the High Philosophic Degrees. 

250. Spread of Freemasonry. — But masonic dis- 
putes soon again ran high. The arch-chancellor, 
accustomed and attached to the usages and pomps 
of courts, secretly gave the preference to the 
Scotch rite with its high-sounding titles and gor- 
geous ceremonies. The Grand Orient carried its 
complaiats even to Napoleon, who grew weary of 
these paltry farces — ^he who planned grand dramas ; 
and at one time he had determined on abolishing 
the order altogether, but Cambac^r^s succeeded in 
arresting his purpose, showing him the dangers that 
might ensue from its suppression — dangers which 
must have appeared great, since Napoleon, who never 
hesitated, hesitated then, and allowed another to alter 
his views. Perhaps he recognized the necessity in 
French society of a body of men who were free at 
least in appearance, of a kind of political safety- 
valve. The French had taken a liking to their 
lodges, where they found a phantom of indepen- 
dence, and might consider themselves on neutral 
ground, so that a masonic writer could say: ''In 
the bosom of Masonry there circulates a little of 
that vital air so necessary to generous minds." 
The Scotch rite, secretly protected, spread through- 

330 Secret Societies. 

out the Frencli departments and foreign countrieSj 
and whilst the Grand Orient tried to suppress it, 
andj to prevent innovations, elected a " Director 
of Rites," the Supreme Grand Council established 
itself at Milan, and elected Prince Eugene Grand 
Master of the Grand Orient of Italy. The two 
highest masonic authorities, which yet had the 
same master in Camhacerea, and the same patron 
in Napoleon, continued to combat each other with 
as much fury as was shown in the struggle between 
France and England. But having no public hfe, no 
parliamentary debates, no opposition journals, the 
greater part of the population took refuge in the 
lodges, and every small town had its own. In 1812, 
there existed one thousand and eighty-nine lodges, 
all depending on the Grand Orient ; the army had 
sixty-nine, and the lodge was opened and closed 
with the cry, Vive I'Einpereur ! 

251. Obsequiousness of Freemasonry. — Ifapoleon, 
unable and unwilling to suppress Freemasonry, em- 
ployed it in the army, in the newly-occupied terri- 
tories, and ia such as he intended to occupy. Im- 
perial proselytism turned the lodges into schools of 
Napoleonism. But one section of Masonry, under 
the shadow of that protection, became the very con- 
trary, anti- Napoleonic ; and not all the lodges closed 
their accustomed labours with the cry of Vive 
VEmpereur ! It is, however, quite certain that 
Napoleon by means of the masonic society facili- 

Masonry and Napoleonism. 331 

tated or secured his conquests. Spain, Germanyj 
and Italy were covered with lodges — antechambers, 
more than any others, of prefectures and military 
command — presided over and governed by soldiers. 
The highest dignitaries of masonry at that period 
were marshals, knights of the Legion of Honour, 
nobles of ancient descent, senators, councillors, all 
safe and trusty persons; a state that obeyed the 
orders of Cambac^res, as he obeyed the orders 
of Napoleon. Obsequiousness came near to the 
ridiculous. The half-yearly words of command 
of the Grand Orient retrace the history of Napo- 
leonic progress. In 1800, '^Science and Peace j" 
ia 1802, after Marengo, " Unity and Success j " in 
1804, after the coronation, " Contentment' and 
Greatness;" after the battle of Friedland, "Em- 
peror and Confidence;" after the suppression of 
the tribune, "Fidelity;" at the birth of the King 
of Rome, "Posterity and Joy;^' at the departure 
of the army of Russia, " Victory and Return." — 
Terrible victory and unfortunate return ! 

262. Anti-Napoleordc Freemasonry. — Napoleon, 
we have seen, made a league with Freemasonry, to 
obtain its support. He is also said to have made 
certaiu promises to it; but, as he failed to keep them, 
the masons timaed against him, and had a large 
share in his fall. This, however, is not very pro- 
bable, and is attributing too much influence to an 
order which had only recently recovered itself. Still 

332 Secret Societies. 

the anti- Napoleonic leaven fermented in the masonic 
society. Sa-v&rj, the minister of police, was aware 
of it in 1810, and wanted to apply to the secret 
meetings of Freemasons the article of the penal code, 
forbidding them ; but Cambac^r^s once more saved 
the institution, which saved neither him nor his 
patron. Freemasonry, if not by overt acts, at least 
by its indifference, helped on the downfall of Napo- 
leon. But it was not altogether inactive, for even 
whilst the Napoleonic star illmnined almost alone 
the political heavens of Europe, a masonic lodge 
was formed whose object was the restoration of the 
Bourbons, whose action may be proved by official 
documents to have extended through the French 
army, and led to the seditious movements of 1813. 




^SB Society of " France Begenerated." — 
The Restoratiorij whose blindness was 
only equalled by its mediocrity — which, 
unable to create, proposed to itself to 
destroy what even time respects, the memories and 
glories of a people — could not please Freemasonry 
much. Hostile to Napoleon in his last years, it 
could not approve of the conduct of the new govern- 
ment. At aU ievents,. the Freemasons held aloof, 
though cynics might suggest that this was done 
with a view of exacting better terms. In the mean- 
while, a society was formed in Paris, which, as- 
suming masonic forms and the title of ''France 
Regenerated," became an instrument of espionage 
and revenge in the hands of the new despot. But 
the very government in whose favour it acted, found 

334 Secret Societies. 

it necessary witliiii a year from its foundation si- 
lently to suppress it ; for it found the rabid zeal of 
these adherents to be more injurious to its iaterests 
than the open opposition of its avowed enemies. 

264. Priestly Opposition to Masonry. — The ma- 
sonic propaganda^ however, was actively carried on. 
The priests, on their part, considered the moment 
come for inaugurating an anti-masonic crusade. 
Under Napoleon the priesthood could not breathp ; 
the court was closed against it, except on grand 
occasions, • when its presence was needed to add 
outward pomp to imperial successes. As the masters 
of ceremonies, the priests had ceased in France to 
be the councillors and confessors of its rulers ; but 
now they re-assumed those functions, and the masons 
were at once recommended to the hatred of the king 
and the mistrust of the public. They were repre- 
sented as abettors of rationalism and regicide ; the 
consequence was, that a great many lodges were 
closed, though on the other hand the rite of Mis- 
raim was established in Paris in 1816, whose mother 
lodge was called the '^Eainbow,'' a presage of 
serenity and calm, which, however, did not save the 
society from police persecution. In 1821, this lodge 
was closed, and not re-opened tiU 1830. Towards 
the same time was founded the lodge of "Trino- 
sophists." In 1821, the Supreme Grand Council 
rose to the surface again, and with it the disputes 
between it and the Grand Orient. To enter into 

Freemasonry and the Second Empire. 335 

their squabbles would be a sad waste of time, and I 
therefore pass them over. 

256. Political Insignificance of Masonry, — The 
Freemasons are said to have brought about the 
July revolution of 1830, but proofs are wanting, 
and I think they may be absolved from that charge. 
Modern Freemasonry is a very tame affair; and, 
though very fond of being dressed up as knights, 
masons, as a rule, are mere carpet-knights. Louis- 
Philippe, who was placed on the throne by that revo- 
lution, took the order under his protection and 
appointed his son, the Duke of Orleans, Grand 
Master. On the duke's death, in 1842, his brother, 
the Duke de Nemours, succeeded him in the dig- 
nity. In this latter year, the disputes between the 
Grand Orient and the Supreme Grand Council were 
amicably settled. Again we are told that at a 
masonic congress held at Strasburg the founda- 
tions of the revolution of 1848 were laid. It is 
certain that Cavaignac, Lamartine, Ledru-Eollin, 
Prudhon, Louis Blanc, Marrast, Vilain, Pyat, and a 
great number of German republicans, attended that 
congress ; but for this reason it cannot strictly be 
called a masonic, it was rather a republican, meeting. 
On the establishment of the Provisional Govern- 
ment after the revolution of 1848, the Freemasons 
gave in their adhesion to that government ; on which 
occasion some high-flown speeches about liberty, 
equality, and fraternity were made, and everybody 

336 Secret Societies. 

congratulated his neighbour that now the reign 
of universal brotherhood had begun. But the 
restoration of the empire, which followed soon 
after, showed how idle aU this oratory had been, 
and how the influence of Masonry in the great 
affairs of the world really is nil. 

266. Freemasomry and Napoleon III. — Again 
the Napoleonic air wares around the Grand Orient. 
The nephew showed himself from the first as hostile 
to Freemasonry as his uncle had been; but the 
decree prohibiting the French lodges from occu- 
pying themselves with political questions, under 
pain of the dissolution of the order, did not appear 
until the 7th Sept., 1850. In January, 1852, some 
superior members of the order proposed to offer 
the dignity of Grand Master to Lucien Murai;, the 
President's cousin. The proposal was unanimously 
agreed to ; and on the 19th of the same month the 
new Grand Master was acknowledged by all the 
lodges. He held the office tiU 1861, when he was 
obliged to resign, in consequence of the masonic 
body having passed a vote of censure upon him for 
his expressions iu favour of the temporal power of 
the pope, uttered in the stormy discussion of the 
French senate in the month of June of that year. 
The Grand Orient was again all in confusion. Na- 
poleon III. now interfered, especially as Prince 
Napoleon was proposed for the office of Grand 
Master; which excited the jealousy of the Mu- 

Freemasonry and the Second Empire. 337 

ratists, who published pamphlets of the most 
Tituperative character against their adversaries, who 
on their side replied with corresponding bitterness. 
Napoleon imposed silence on the litigants, prohibited 
attendance at lodges, promised that he himself 
would appoint a Grand Master, and advised his 
cousia to undertake a long voyage to the United 
States. Deprived of the right of electing its own 
chief, the autonomy of Freemasonry became an illu- 
sion, its programme useless, and its mystery a farce. 
In the meanwhile, the quarrels of the partizans of 
the different candidates calmed down ; Prince Na- 
poleon returned from America] Muxat resigned 
himself to this defeat, as to others, and the emperor 
forgot all about Freemasonry. At last, in January, 
1862, there appeared a decree, appointing Marshal 
Magnan to be Grand Master. A Marshal ! The 
nephew, in this instance, as in many others, had 
taken a leaf out of his uncle's book. 

257. Jesuitical Ma/iioeuvres. — Napoleonic Free- 
masonry, not entirely to lose its peculiar physi- 
ognomy, ventured to change its institutions.- Je- 
suitism cast loving eyes on it, and drew it towards 
itself, as in the days of the Strict Observance. 
Murat threw out his net, but was removed just when 
it was most important for the interest of the Jesuits 
that he should have remained. He proposed to 
transform the French lodges — of which in 1852 there 
were 325, whilst in 1861, only 269 could be found — 


338 Secret Societies. 

into societies of mutual succour, and to abandon or 
submit the Mglier masonic sphere of morality and 
humanity to the society, which in these last sixty 
years has already overcome and incorporated the 
whole Roman clergy, once its rivals, and by oblique 
paths also many of the conservative sects of other 
creeds. Murat did not succeed, but others may; 
and though the masons say that Jesuitism shaU not 
succeed, yet, how is Freemasonry, that professes to 
meddle neither with poKtics nor religion, to coun- 
teract the political and religious machinations of the 
Jesuits ? And even if Freemasonry had the same 
weapons, are there men among the order able to 
wield them with the ability and fearlessness that 
distinguish the followers of Loyola ? I fear not. 



\HIM8I0AL Masonic SodeUes. — "We 
tare but few notices of the early state 
of Freemasonry in Italy, We are told 
that in 1512 there was founded at 
Florence a Society under the name of "■ The 
Trowelj" composed of learned and literary men, 
who indulged in all kinds of whimsical freaks, and 
who may have served as prototypes to the Order of 
" The Monks of the Screw,'' established towards 
the end of the last century in Ireland. Thus at 
one time they would meet in the lodge, dressed as 
masons and labourers, and begin to erect an edifice 
with trays full of macaroni and cheese, using spices 
and bonbons for mortar, and rolls and cakes for 
stones, and buildiag up the whole with aU kinds of 
comestibles. And thus they went on, until a pre- 
tended rain put an end to their labours. At 
another time it was Ceres, who, in search of Proser- 

340 Secret Societies. 

pinBj invited the Brethren of the Trowel to accom- 
pany her to the infernal regions. They foUowed 
her through the mouth of a serpent into a dark 
room, and' on Pluto iaviting them to the feast, 
lights appeared, and the table was seen to be 
covered with black, whilst the dishes on it were 
foul and obscene animals, and bones of dead men, 
served by devils carrying shovels. Finally aU this 
vanished, and a choice banquet followed. This 
Society of the Trowel was in existence in 1737. 
The clergy endeavoured to suppress it ; and would 
no doubt have succeeded, but for the accession 
of Francis, Duke of Tuscany, who, as we have 
seen, had been initiated in Holland, and who 
set free aU the Freemasons that had been incar- 
cerated, and protected the order. But the remem- 
brance of that persecution is preserved in the 
rituals, and in the degree of " Magus,'^ the costume 
is that of the Holy Office, as other degrees com- 
memorate the inquisitors of Portugal and Spain. 

259. niuminati in Italy. — The sect of the lUu- 
minati, of whom Count Filippo Strozzi was a warm 
partisan, soon after spread through Italy, as well 
as another order, affiliated with the niuminati, mys- 
tical and alchymistical, and in opposition to the 
Eosicrucians, called the " Initiated Brethren of 
Asia," which had been founded at Vienna. It only 
accepted candidates who had passed through the 
first three degrees of the York rite. Like Egyptian 

Freemasonry in Italy. 341 

Masonry^ it worsHipped the Tetragrammaton, and 
combined the deepest and most philosophical ideas 
with the most childish superstitions. 

260. Freemasonry at Naples. — In the kingdom 
of Naples the masons amounted to many thousands. 
An edict of Ohgiries III. (1751)^ and another of 
Ferdinand IV. (1759), closed the lodges, but in a 
short time they became a dead letter, and in vain did 
the minister, Tanucci, hostile to the institution, 
seek to revive them. The incident of a neophyte 
dying a few days after his initiation gave a pretext 
for fresh persecution. The masons, assembled at 
a banquet, were arrested; and in vain did Levy, a 
lawyer, undertake their defence. He was expelled 
the kingdom ; his book in favour of the order was 
publicly burnt by the executioner. But Queen 
Caroline, having dismissed Tanucci, again sanc- 
tioned masonic meetings, for which she received the 
thanks of the Grand Orient of France. It would 
seem, however, that in a very few years. Freema- 
sonry again had to hide its head, for in 1767 we 
hear of it as a " secret" society, whose existence 
has just been discovered. The document which re- 
cords this discovery puts the number of Free- 
masons at 64,000, which probably is an exaggera- 
tion ; stiU, among so excitable a population as that 
of southern Italy, secret societies at all times found 
plenty of proselytes. 

261. Details of Bocmnent. — The document re- 

342 Secret Societies. 

ferred to says : — At last tlie great mine of the 
Freemasons of Naples is discovered, of whom the 
name, but not the secret, was knoTsn. Two cir- 
cumstances are alleged by which the discovery was 
brought about: — a dying man revealed all to his 
confessor, that he should inform the king thereof; 
a knight, who had been kept in great state by the 
society, having had his pension withheld, betrayed 
the Grand Master of the order to the king. This 
Grand Master was the Duke of San Severo. The king 
secretly sent a confidential officer with three dra- 
goons to the duke's mansiouj with orders to seize 
him before he had time to speak to any one, and 
bring him to the palace. The order was carried 
out ; but a few minutes after a fire broke out in the 
duke's mansion, destroying his library, the real ob- 
ject being, as is supposed, to bum all writings 
having reference to Freemasonry. The fire was 
extinguished, and the house guarded by troops. 
The duke having been brought before the king, 
openly declared the objects, system, seals, govern- 
ment, and possessions of the order. He was sent 
back to his palace, and there guarded by troops, 
lest he should be killed by his former colleagues. 
Freemasons have also been discovered at Florence, 
and the Pope and the Emperor have sent thither 
twenty-four theologisins to put a stop to the disorder. 
The king acts with the greatest mercy towards 
all implicated, to avoid the great dangers that might 

Freemasonry in Italy. 343 

ensue from a contrary course. He haa also ap- 
pointed four persons of great standing to use the 
best means to destroy so abominable a sect; and 
has given notice to all the other sorereigns of Europe 
of his discovery, and the abominable maxima of the 
sect, calling upon them to assist in its suppression, 
which it will be folly in them to refuse to do. For 
the order does not count its members by thousands, 
but by minions, especially among Jews and Pro- 
testants. Their frightful maxims are only known 
to the members of the fifth, sixth, and seventh 
lodges, whilst those of the first three know nothing, 
and those of the fourth act without knowing what 
they do. They derive their origin from England, 
and the founder of the sect was that infamous 
Cromwell, first bishop, and then lover of Anne 
Boleyn, and then beheaded for his crimes, called in 
his day " the scourge of rulers." He left the order 
an annual income of £10,000 sterling. It is divided 
into seven lodges : the members of the seventh are 
called Assessors ; of the sixth. Grand Masters ; of 
the fifth. Architects; of the fourth. Executors 
(here the secret ends) ; of the third, Euricori(!); of 
the second and first. Novices and Proselytes. Their 
infamous idea is based on the allegory of the temple 
of Solomon, considered in its first splendour, and 
then overthrown by the tyranny of the Assyrians, 
and finally restored — thereby to signify the liberty 
of man after the creation of the world, the tyranny 

344 . Secret Societies. 

of the priestliood, kings, and laws, and the re-estab- 
lishment of that liberty. Then follow twelve 
maxims, ia which these opinions and aims are more 
fully expounded, from which it appears that they 
were not very different from those of aU other re- 
publican and advanced politicians. 

262. Freemasomry at Venice. — The Freemasons 
were at first tolerated at Venice, but in 1686 the go- 
vernment suddenly took the alarm, and ordered the 
closing of aU lodges, and banished the members; 
but the decree was very leniently executed, and a 
lodge of nobles having refased to obey, the magis- 
trates entered it at a time when they knew no one 
to be there. The furniture, ornaments, and jewels 
were carried out and publicly burnt or dispersed, 
but none of the brethren were in any way molested. 
A lodge was re-established afterwards, which was 
discovered in 1785, when aU its contents were again 
burnt or otherwise destroyed. From the ritual, 
which was found among the other effects, it appears 
that the candidate for initiation was led, his eyes 
being bandaged, from street to street, or canal to 
canal, so as to prevent his tracing the locality, to 
the Rio Marino, where he was first conducted into a 
room hung with black, and illumined by a single 
light ; there he was clothed in a long garment Kke 
a winding sheet, but black ; he put on a cap some- 
thing like a turban, and his hair was drawn over 
his face, and in this elegant figure he was placed 

Freemasonry in Italy. 345 

before a looking-glass, covered with a black cur- 
tain, under which were written the words, " If thou 
hast true courage, and an honest desire to enter into 
, the order, draw aside the curtain, and learn to know 
thyself." He might then remove the bandage and 
look at himself. He was then again blindfolded, 
and placed in the middle of the room, while thirty 
or forty members entered and began to fight with 
swords. This was to try the candidate's courage, 
who was himself slightly wounded. The bandage 
was once more removed, and the wound dressed. 
Then it was replaced, and the candidate taken to a 
second apartment, hung with black and white, and 
having in the middle a bed covered with a black 
cloth, on the centre of which was a white cross, whilst 
on either side was represented a white skeleton. The 
candidate was laid on the bed, the bandage being 
removed, and he was there left with two tapers, 
the one white, the other yellow* After having been 
left there for some time, the brethren entered in a 
boisterous manner beating discordant drums. The 
candidate was to show no sign of trepidation amidst 
all these solemn (?) ceremonies ; and then the mem- 
bers embraced him as a brother, and gave him the 
name by which he was henceforth to be known in 
the society. 

263. Abatement under Napoleon.: — During the 
reign of Napoleon I., numerous lodges were founded 
throughout Italy; and it cannot be denied by the 

346 Secret Societies. 

greatest friends of tlie order that during that period 
Freemasonry cut a most pitiful figure. For a so- 
ciety that always boasted of its independence of, 
and superiority to, all other earthly governments, to 
forward addresses such as the following to Napo- 
leouj seems something like self-abasement and 
self-stultification : — " Napoleon ! thy philosophy 
guarantees the toleration of our natural and divine 
religion. We render thee honour worthy of thee 
for it, and thou shalt find in us nothing but faithful 
subjects, ever devoted to thy august person !" 

264. The Freemasonry of the Present in Italy. — 
Very little need or can be said as regards the active 
proceedings of Italian Masonic lodges of the pre- 
sent day, though they have been reconstituted and 
united under one or two heads. But their programme 
deserves attention, as pointing out those reforms, 
needed not only iu Italy, but everywhere where 
Freemasonry exists. The declared object, then, of 
Italian Freemasonry is, the highest development of 
universal philanthropy ; the iudependence and unity 
of single nations, and fraternity among each other ; 
the toleration of every religion, and absolute equality 
of worship ; the moral and material progress of the 
masses. It moreover declares itself independent of 
every government, aflSrming that Italian Free- 
masonry will not recognize any other sovereign 
power on earth but right reason and universal con- 
science. It further declares — and this deserves 

Freemasonry in Italy. 34:7 

particular attention — that Freemasonry is not to 
consist in a mysterious symbolismj vain ceremonies^ 
or indefinite aspirations, •whicli cover the order with 
ridicule. Again, Masonry being universal, essen- 
tially human, it does not occupy itself vdth forms of 
government, nor with transitory questions, but with 
such as are permanent and general. In social re- 
forms abstract theories, founded on mystical aspi- 
rations, are to be avoided. The duty of labour 
being the most essential in civil society. Free- 
masonry is opposed to idleness. Religious ques- 
tions are beyond the pale of Freemasonry. Human 
conscience is in itself inviolable ; it has no concern 
with any positive religion, but represents religion 
itself in its essence. Devoted to the principle of 
fraternity, it preaches universal toleration ; compre- 
hends in its ritual many of the symbols of various 
religions, as in its syncretism it chooses the purest 
truths. Its creed consists in the worship of the 
Divine, whose highest conception, withdrawn from 
every priestly speculation, is that of the Great Archi- 
tect of the Universe j and in faith in humanity, the 
sole interpreter of the Divine in the world. As to 
extrinsic modes of worship. Freemasonry neither 
imposes nor recommends any, leaving to everyone 
his free choice, until the day, perhaps not far dis- 
tant, when aU men will be capable of worshipping 
the Infinite in spirit and in truth, without inter- 
mediaries and outward forms. And whilst man in 

348 Secret Societies. 

his secret relations to the Infinite fecundates the 
religious thought, he iu his relations to the Uni- 
verse fecundates the scientific thought. Science 
is truth, and the most ancient cultus of Free- 

In determining the relations of the individual to 
his equals. Freemasonry does not restrict itself to 
recommending to do unto others what we wish 
others would do unto us ; but inculcates to do good, 
oppose evil, and not to submit to injustice in what- 
soever form it presents itself. Freemasonry looks 
forward to the day when the iron plates of the 
"Monitor" and the "Merrimac" will be beaten 
into steam-ploughs ; when man, redeemed by liberty 
and science, shall enjoy the pure pleasures of intel- 
ligence ; when peace, fertilised by the wealth and 
strength now devoted to war, shall bring forth the 
most beautiful fruit of the tree of life. 

265. Reform needed. — Greatly therefore is the 
academic puerility of rites to be regretted, which 
drags back into the past an institution that ought 
to launch forward iato the future. It is self-evident 
that Freemasonry in this state cannot last — ^that a 
reform is necessary ; and as De Castro, from whom 
the above is taken, thinks that it would be an 
honour to Italy to be the leader in such a reform, 
it would be an honour to any country that initiated 
it. Masonry ought not to be an ambulance, but a 
vanguard. It is embarrassed by its excessive bag- 

Freemasonry in Italy. 


its superfluous symbols. Guarding secrets 
universally known^ it cannot entertain secrets of 
greater account. Forcing itself to beUeve itself 
to be the sole depositary of widely-spread truths, 
it deprives itself and the world of other truths. In 
this perplexity and alternative of committing suicide 
or being born anew, what will Masonry decide on ? 



tlFH of OagUostro. — Joseph Balsamo, the 
disciple and successor of St. Germain^ 
■who pretended at the court of Louis 
XV. to have been the contemporary 
of Charles Y., Francis I., and Christy and to possess 
the elixir of life and many other secrets, had vaster 
designs and a loftier ambition than his teacher, and 
was one of the most active agents of Freemasonry 
in France and the rest of Europe. ■ He was born at 
Palermo in 1743, and educated at two convents in 
that city, where he acquired some chemical know- 
ledge. As a young man, he fell in with an Aime- 
nian, or Greek, or Spaniard, called Althotas, a kind 
of adventurer, who professed to possess the philo- 
sopher's stone, with whom he led a roving Ufe for 
a number of years. What became of Althotas at last 
is not positively known. Balsamo at last found his 
way to Rome, where he married the beautiful 

Cagliostro and Egyptian Masonry. 351 

Lorenza Feliciani, whom lie treated so badly, ttat 
she escaped from him ; but he recovered her, and 
acquired great influence over her by magnetically 
operating upon her. There is no doubt that he 
was a powerful magnetizer. Visiting Germany, he 
was initiated into Freemasonry, in which he soon 
began to take a prominent part. He also assumed 
different titles, such as that of Marquis of Pelle- 
griui, but the one he is best known by is that of 
Count Cagliostro ; and by his astuteness, impudence, 
and some lucky hits at prophesying, he acquired a 
European notoriety and made many dupes, including 
persons of the highest rank, especially in France, 
where he founded many new Masonic lodges. He 
was the author of a book called " The Eite of 
Egyptian Masonry,^' which rite he established first 
in Courland, and afterwards in Germany, France, 
and England. After having been banished from 
France, in consequence of his implication iu the affair 
of the queen's necklace, and driven from England by 
his creditors, he was induced by his wife, who was 
weary of her wandering life, and anxious once more 
to see her relations, to visit Eome, where he was 
arrested on the charge of attempting to found a 
Masonic lodge, agaiast which a papal bull had re- 
cently been promulgated, and thrown iuto the castle 
of St. Angelo, in 1789. He was condemned to 
death, but the punishment was commuted to per- 
petual imprisonment. His wife was shut up in a 

352 Secret Societies. 

convent, and died soon after. Having been trans- 
ferred to tlie Castle of San Leo, he attempted to 
strangle the monk sent to confess him, in the hope 
of escapiag in his gown ; but the attempt failed, and 
it is supposed that he died, a prisoner, in 1795. 

267. The Egyptian Bite. — The Egyptian rite 
invented by Cagliostro is a mixture of the sacred 
and profane, of the serious and laughable; charla- 
tanism is its prevailing feature. Having discovered 
a MS. of George Cofton, in which was propounded 
a singular scheme for the reform of Freemasonry in 
an alchymistic and fantastic sense, Cagliostro founded 
thereon the bases of his masonic system, taking 
advantage of human credulity, enriching himself, 
and at the same time seconding the action of other 
secret societies. If there were not now believers 
in spirit-rapping and table-turning, it would be 
difficult to understand how Cagliostro succeeded 
in gaining so many followers and so much wealth, 
considering his vulgar tricks and shallow pretences. 
He gave his dupes to understand that the scope of 
Egyptian Masonry was to conduct men to perfection 
by means of physical and moral regeneration ; assert- 
ing that the former was infaUible through the prima 
materia and the philosopher's stone, which assured 
to man the strength of youth and immortaHty, and 
that the second was to be achieved by the discovery 
of a pentagon that would restore man to his primi- 
tive innocence. This rite indeed is- a tissue of fa- 

Cagliostro and Egyptian Masonry. 353 

tuities it -would not be worth wliile to allude to, did 
it not offer matter for study to the philosopher and 
moralist. Cagliostro pretended that the rite had 
been first founded by Enoch, remodelled by Elias, 
and finally restored by the Grand Copt. Both men 
and women were admitted into the lodges, though 
the ceremonies for each were slightly different, and 
the lodges for their reception entirely distinct. In 
the reception of women, among other formalities 
there was that of breathing into the face of the 
neophyte, saying, " I breathe upon you this breath 
to cause to germinate in you and grow in your 
heart the truth we possess ; I breathe it into you to 
strengthen ia you good intentions, and to confirm 
you in the faith of your brothers and sisters. We 
constitute you a legitimate daughter of true Egyp- 
tian adoption and of this worshipfal lodge.^' One 
of the lodges was called " Sinai," where the most 
secret rites were performed ; another " Ararat," to 
symbolize the rest reserved for masons only. Con- 
cerning the pentagon, Cagliostro taught that it would 
be given to the masters after forty days of inter- 
course with the seven primitive angels, and that its 
possessors would enjoy a physical regeneration for 
5557 years, after which they would through gentle 
sleep pass iato heaven. The pentagon had as much 
success with the upper ten thousand of London, 
Paris, and St. Petersburg, as the philosopher's stone 
ever enjoyed; and large sums were given for a few 

A A 

354 Secret Societies. 

grains of tlie rejuvenating prima materia. There 
exists yet between Basle and Strasburg a sumptu- 
ous Chinese temple, where the famous pentagon 
was worshipped; and the lodge " Sinai" at Lyons 
was as gorgeous as a palace. 

268. GagUostro's Hydromamcy. — But beside ma- 
sonic delusions, Cagliostro made use of the then 
little understood wonders of magnetism to attract 
adherents ; and as many persons are seduced by the 
wine-cup, so he made dupes of many by means of 
the water-bottle, which trick, as might be shown, was 
very ancient, and consisted in divination by hydro- 
mancy. A child, generally a little girl, was made to 
look into a bottle of water, and see therein events, 
past, present, and to come, the child having of course 
been well tutored beforehand ; and as Cagliostro 
was really a man of observation, he made many 
shrewd guesses as to the future, and sometimes 
fortune favoured him — as in the case of Schieffort, 
one of the leaders of the Illuminati, who refused to 
join the Egyptian rite, at which Cagliostro was so 
incensed, that he caused the Httle g^l to see in the 
decanter the exterminating angel, who declared that 
in less than a month Schieffort would be punished. 
Nofv it so happened that within that period Schief- 
fort committed suicide, which of course gave an 
immense lift to Cagliostro and his bottle. In this 
respect indeed Cagliostro was a forerunner of our 
modern spiritualists; and as he did not keep his 

Cagliostro and Egyptian Masonry. 355 

occult power a secret from allj but freely Gommuiii- 
cated itj magical practices were thus introduced 
into the lodges, wluch well serTed the purposes of 
the astutOj but brought discredit on the institution. 
And all this occurred at the period of the Encyclo- 
pedists, and on the eve of mighty events ! 



[I8T0BIGAL Notice. — ^According to one 
of tke fundamental laws of Masonry — 
and a rule prevailiag in the greater 
mysteries of antiquity — women cannot 
be received into the order. Women cannot keep 
secrets, at least so Milton says, through the mouth 
of Dalila : — 

" Granting, as I do, it was a weakness 

In me, but incident to all our sex. 

Curiosity, inquisitive, importune 

Of secrets ; then with like infirmity 

To publish them ; both common female faults." 

But we have already seen that Cagliostro admitted 
women to the Egyptian rite ; and when at the be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century several associa- 
tions sprang up in France, which in their external 
aspect resembled Freemasonry, but did not exclude 
women, the ladies naturally were loud in their praise 

Adoptive Masonry. 357 

of such institutionsj so that the masonic brother- 
hood, seeing it was becoming unpopular^ had re- 
course to the stratagem of establishing " adoptive" 
lodges of women, so called because every such lodge 
had finally to be adopted by some regulaj" masonic 
lodge. The Grand Orient of France framed laws for 
their government, and the first lodge of adoption was 
opened in Paris in 1775, in which the Duchess of 
Bourbon presided, and was initiated as Grand Mis- 
tress of the rite. The Revolution checked the pro- 
gress of this rite, but it was revived in 1805, when 
the Empress Josephine presided over the " Loge 
Imperiale d' Adoption des Francs- Chevaliers" at 
Strasburg. Similar lodges spread oyer Europe, 
Great Britain excepted; but they soon declined, 
and are at present confined to the place of their 

270. Organisation. — The rite consists of the same 
degrees as those of genuine Masonry. Every sister, 
being a dignitary, has beside her a masonic brother 
holding the corresponding rank. Hence the officers 
are a Grand Master and a Grand Mistress, an In- 
spector and an Inspectress, a Depositor and a De- 
positrix, a Conductor and a Conductress. The busi- 
ness of the lodge is conducted by the, sisterhood, 
the brethren only acting as their assistants ; but the 
Grand Mistress has very little to say or to do, she 
being only an honorary companion to the Grand 
Master. The first, or apprentice's degree, is only 

358 Secret Societies. 

introductory; in the second, or companion, tte 
scene of the temptation in Eden is emblematically 
represented ; the building of the tower of Babel is 
the subject of the mistress's degree; and ia the 
fourth, or that of perfect mistress, the officers re- 
present Moses, Aaron, and their wives, and the 
ceremonies refer to the passage of the Israelites 
through the wilderness, as a symbol of the passage 
of men and women through this to another and 
better life. The lodge room is tastefully decorated, 
and divided by curtains into four compartments, 
each representing one of the four quarters of the 
globe, the eastern, or furthermost, representing 
Asia, where there are two splendid thrones, de- 
corated with gold fringe, for the Grand Master and 
the Grand Mistress. The members sit on each side 
in straight lines, the sisters in front and the bro- 
thers behind them, the latter having swords in their 
hands. All this pretty playing at masonry is na- 
turally followed by a banquet, and on many occa- 
sions by a baU. And a very proper sequel to pri- 
vate theatricals ! At the banquets the members use 
a symbolical language; thus the lodge-room is 
called " Eden,'' the doors ''barriers," a glass is 
called a " lamp," water " white oil," wine " red 
on ;" to fill your glass is " to trim your lamp," &c. 
271 . Jesuit Degrees. — The Jesuits, qui vont passer 
leur nez partout, soon poked it into Adoptive Ma- 
sonry — for to get hold of the women is to get hold 

Adoptive Masonry. 359 

of the better half of mankind — and founded new 
lodges, or modified existing ones of that rite to 
further their own purposes. Thus it is that a truly 
monkish asceticism was introduced into some of 
them, by the Jesuits divided into ten degrees ; and 
we find such passages in the catedhism as these: 
"Are you prepared, sister, to sacrifice life for the 
good of the catholic, apostolic Roman Church V 
The tenth or last degree was called the " Princess 
of the Crown," and a great portion of the ritual 
treats of the Queen of Sheba. This rite was 
established in Saxony in 1779. 



l^BIGIN and Tendency. — Gallantry al- 
ready makes its appearance in Adoptive 
Masonry ; and this gallantry, which for 
so many ages was the study of France, 
and was there reduced to an ingenious art, manu- 
factured on its own account rites and degrees that 
were masonic in name only. Politics were de- 
throned by amorous intrigues ; and the enumerators 
of great effects sprung from trifling causes might in 
this chapter of history find proofs of what a super- 
ficial and accidental thing politics are, when not 
governed by motives of high morality, nor watched 
by the incorruptible national conscience. And 
Androgynous Masonry did not always confine itself 
to an interchange of compHments and the pursuit of 
pleasure ; stUl, as a rule, its lodges for the initiation 
of males and females — defended by some of their 
advocates as founded on Bxod. xxxviii. 8 — are a 

Androgynous Masonry. 361 

•whimsical form of that court life which in France and 
Italy had its poets and romancers; and which rose to 
such a degree of imj^idence and scandal as to outrage 
the modesty of citizens and popular virtue. It is a 
page of that history of princely corruption, which 
the French people at first read of with laughter, 
then with astonishment, finally with indignation; 
and which inspired it with those feelings which at 
last found their vent in the excesses of the great 
Eevolution. Every Revolution is a puritanical 
movement, and the simple and neglected virtue of 
the lowly-born avenges itself upon the pompous 
vices of their superiors. 

273. Earliest Androgynous Societies. — Some of 
these were founded in France and elsewhere by an 
idle, daring, and conquering soldiery. As their 
type we may take the order of the " KJnights and 
Ladies of Joy," founded with extraordinary success 
at Paris in 1696, under the protection of Bacchus 
and Venus, and whose printed statutes are still in 
existence ; and that of the " Ladies of St. John of 
Jerusalem," and the " Ladies of St. James of the 
Sword and Calatrava." They, as it were, served as 
models to the canonesses who till the end of the 
last century brought courtly pomp and mundane 
pleasures into the very cloisters of France, and 
compelled austere moralists to excuse it by saying 
that it was dans le gout de la nation. 

274. Other Androgynous Societies. — In the order 

362 Secret Societies. 

of the " Companions of Penelope, or the Palladium 
of LadieSj" whose statutes are said to hare been 
drawn up by P^n^lon (with how jnuch truth is easily- 
imagined) , the trials consist in showing the candi- 
date that work is the palladium of women ; whence 
we may assume the pursuits of this society to have 
been very different from the equivocal occupations 
of other orders. The order of the " Mopses" owed 
its origin to a religious scruple. Pope Clement XII. 
having issued^ in 1738, a Bull, condemning Free- 
masonry, the Eoman CathoHcs, not wishing to de- 
prive themselves of their fraternal meetings, insti- 
tuted, under the above name (derived from the 
German word Mops, a young mastiff, the symbol of 
mutual fidelity), what was pretended to be a new 
association, but what was in fact only Freemasonry 
under another name. In 1776 the " Mopses" be- 
came an androgynous order, admitting females to 
all the offices, except that of Grand Master. There 
was, however, a Grand Mistress also. In 1777 there 
was established in Denmark the androgynous order 
of the " Society of the Chain,^' to which belongs 
the honour of having founded and of maintaining at 
its own expense the Asylum for the BUnd at Copen- 
hagen, the largest and best managed of similar 
institutions in Europe. The order of " Perse- 
verance," the date of whose foundation is unknown, 
but which existed in Paris in 1777, and was sup- 
ported by the most distinguished persons, had a 

Androgynous Masonry. 363 

laudable custom, which might be imitated by other 
f societies, viz., to inscribe in a book, one of which is 
still extant, the praiseworthy actions of the male and 
female members of the association. But one of the 
most deserving masonic androgynous institutions 
was that of the " Sovereign Chapter of the Scotch 
Ladies of France," founded in 1810, and divided 
into lesser and greater mysteries, and whose in- 
structions aimed chiefly at leading the neophyte 
back to the occupations to which the state of society 
called him or her. To provide food and work for 
those wanting either, to afford them advice and 
help, and save them from the cruel alternative of 
crime — such was the scope of this socifety, which 
lasted till the year 1828. 

275. Vicious Androgynous Societies.- — The So- 
ciety of the " Wood-store of the Globe and Glory " 
was founded in 1747 by the Chevalier de BeauchSne, 
a lively bqon companion, who was generally to be 
found at an inn, where for very little money he con- 
ferred all the masonic degrees of that time ; a man 
whose worship would have shone by the great tun 
of Heidelberg, or at the drinking bouts of German 
students. The Wood-store was supposed to be in a 
forest, and the meetings, which were much in vogue, 
took place in a garden outside Paris, called " New 
France," where assembled lords and clowns, ladies 
and grisettes, indulging in the easy costumes and 
manners of the country. Towards the middle of 

364 Secret Societies. 

the eighteentli century, there was established in 
Britanny the order of the " Defoliators." 

In the order of " PeUcity," instituted in Paris 
in 1742, and divided into the four degrees of mid- 
shipman, captain, chief of a squadron, and vice- 
admiral, the emblems and terms were nautical: 
sailors were its founders, and it excited so much 
attention, that ia 1746 a satire, entitled, " The 
Means of reaching the highest Eank in the Navy 
without getting Wet," was published against it. 
Its field of action was the field of love. A Grand 
Orient was called the offing, the lodge the squadron, 
and the sisters performed the fictitious voyage to the 
island of Felicity sous la voile des freres et pilotees 
par eux; and the candidate promised ''never to 
receive a foreign ship into her port as long as a 
ship of the order was anchored there." 

The order of the " Lovers of Pleasure " was a 
military institution, a pale revival of the cere- 
monies of chivalry and the courts of love, impro- 
vised in the French camp in Gallicia. From the 
discourse of one of the orators we select the fol- 
lowing passage : " Our scope is to embellish our 
existence, always taking for our guide the words : 
' Honour, Joy, and Delicacy.' Our scope, moreover, 
is to be faithful to our country and the august 
sovereign who fills the universe with his glorious 
name, to serve a cause which ought to be grateful to 
every gentle soul, that of protecting youth and inno- 

Androgynous Masonry. 365 

cence, and of establishing between flie ladies and 
ourselves an eternal alliancOj cemented by the purest 
friendship." This society, it is said, was much 
favoured by Napoleon I., and hence we may infer 
that its aim was not purely pleasure ; at all events 
it is remarkable, that a society, having masonic 
rites, should have given its services to the " august 
sovereign" who had ji^at withdrawn his support 
from genuine Freemasonry. 

276. Knights and Nymphs of the Rose. — This 
order was founded in Paris in 1778 by Chaumont, 
private secretary to Louis-Philippe d' Orleans, to 
please that prince. The chief lodge was held in 
one of the famous petites maisons of that epoch. 
. The great lords had lodges in their own houses. 
The Hierophant, assisted by a deacon called " Senti- 
ment," initiated the men, and the Grand Priestess, 
assisted by the deaconess called "Discretion,'* 
initiated the women. The age of admission for 
knights was " the age to love," that of ladies, " the 
age to please and to be loved." Love and mystery 
were the programme of the order ; the lodge was 
called the Temple of Love, which was beautifully 
adorned with garlands of flowers and amorous 
emblems and devices. The knights wore a crown 
of myrtle, the nymphs a crown of roses. During 
the time of initiation a dark lantern, held by the 
nymph of Discretion, shed a dim light, but after- 
wards the lodge was illuminated with numerous 

366 Secret Societies. 

wax candles. The aspiraiits, laden witli chains, to 
symbolize the prejudices that kept them prisoners, 
were asked, "What seek yon here?" To which 
they replied, "Happiness." They were then 
questioned as to their private opinion and conduct 
in matters of gallantry, and made twice to traverse 
the lodge over a path covered with love-knots, 
whereupon the iron chains were taken off, and 
garlands of flowers, called "chains of love," sub- 
stituted. The candidates were then conducted 
to the altar, where they took the oath of secresy; 
and thence to the mysterious groves in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Temple of Love, where incense 
was offered up to Venus and her son. If it was a 
knight who had been initiated, he exchanged his 
crown of myrtle for the rose of the last initiated 
nymph ; and if a nymph, she exchanged her rose 
for the myrtle crown of Brother Sentiment. The 
horrors of the Revolution scattered these knights 
and nymphs, who, like thoughtless children, were 
playing on a volcano. 

277. Mason's Daughter. — This is an androgy- 
nous degree invented in the Western States of 
America, and given to master masons, their wives, 
and unmarried sisters and daughters. It refers to 
circumstances recorded in chapters xi. and xii. of 
St. John's Gospel. 



IAU8E8 of Persecution. — Tlie secresy 
■with which the masonic brotherhood 
has always surrounded its proceedings is 
no doubt highly grateful to the mem- 
bers, but it has its drawbacks. The outside world j 
who cannot belieTC that masonic meetings, which 
are so jealously guarded against the intrusion of 
non-masons, have no other purpose than the re- 
hearsal of a now totally useless and pointless ritual, 
followed by conYiviality, naturally assume that there 
must be something more behind ; and what seems 
to fear the light is usually supposed to be evil. 
Hence all governments, as long as they did not 
know what modern Freemasonry really is, perse- 
cuted and endeavoured to suppress it. But as soon 
as they discovered its real scope and character, they 
gave it their support, feeling quite convinced that 
men who could find entertainment in the doings of 

368 Secret Societies. 

the lodges, would never, as it is popularly called, 
set tlie Thames on fire. Thus one of the first per- 
secutions against Freemasonry arose in Holland ia 
1734. A crowd of ignorant fanatics, incited thereto 
by the clergy, broke into a lodge at Amsterdam 
and destroyed aU its furniture and ornaments; but 
the town clerk having at the suggestion of the 
order been initiated, the States-General, upon his 
report, sanctioned the society, many of the chief 
persons becoming members. Of course when lodges 
were turned into political clubs, and the real busi- 
ness of Masonry was cast aside for something more 
serious, the matter assumed a very different aspect. 
The persecutions here to be mentioned wiU there- 
fore be such only as took place against Freemasonry, 
legitimately so called-. 

279. Instances of Persecution. — ^Pope Clement 
XII., in 1737, issued a decree against the order, 
which was followed by a more severe edict next 
year, the punishment therein awarded for being 
found guilty of practising Freemasonry being con- 
fiscation and death, without hope of mercy. This was 
a signal of persecution in the countries connected 
with Eome. The parliament of Paris, however, re- 
fused to register the papal BuU ; and an apology for 
the order was published at Dublin. But Philip V. of 
Spain declared the galleys for Hfe, or punishment of 
death with torture to be the doom of Freemasons ; a 
very large number of whom he caused to be arrested 

Persecutions of Freemasonry. 369 

and sentenced. Peter Torrubia, Grand Inquisitor 
of Spain, having first made confession and received 
absolution, entered the order for the express pur- , 
pose of betraying it. He joined in 1751, and made 
himself acquainted with the entire ramifications of 
the Craft ; and in consequence members of ninety- 
seven lodges were seized and tortured on the rack. 
Ferdinand VI. declared Freemasonry to be high 
treason, and punishable with death. When the 
French became masters of Spain, Freemasonry was 
revived and openly practised, the members of the 
Grand Lodge of Madrid meeting in the hall previ- 
ously occupied by their arch-enemy the Inquisition. 
With the return of Ferdinand VII., who re-esta- 
blished the Inquisition, the exterminating process 
recommenced. In 1814, twenty-five persons sus-) 
pected of Freemasonry were dragged in chains to / 
confinement ; but the subsequent arrests were so/ 
numerous that no correct account is obtainable, nor 
can the ultimate fate of the accused be recorded. 
In 1824, a law was promulgated, commanding all 
masons to declare themselves, and deliver up aU 
their papers and documents, under the penalty of 
being declared traitors. The Minister of War, in 
the same year, issued a proclamation, outlawing 
every member of the craft, and in 1827 seven 
members of a lodge in Granada were executed; 
while in 1828, the tribunals of the same city 
condemned the Marquis of Lavrillana and Cap- 

B B 

370 Secret Societies. 

tain Alvarez to be beheaded for having founded a 

In 1735, several noble Portuguese instituted a 
lodge at Lisbon, under the Grand Lodge of England, 
of which George Gordon was Master ; but the priests 
immediately determined on putting it down. One 
of the best known victims of the Inquisition was 
John Coustos, a native of Switzerland, who was 
arrested iu 1743, and thrown into a subterranean 
dungeon, where he was racked nine times in three 
months for not revealing the secrets of Masonry. 
He had, however, to appear in an auto-da-fe, and 
was sentenced to five years' work as a galley slave ; 
but the British Government claiming him as a sub- 
ject, he was released before the term of his punish- 
ment expired. Thirty- three years passed with- 
out anything more being heard of Freemasonry in 
Portugal ; but in 1776, two members of the craft 
were arrested, and remained , upwards of fourteen 
/ months in prison. In 1792, Queen Elizabeth or- 
/ dered all Freemasons to be delivered over to the 
y Inquisition; a very few families escaped to New 
VYork, where they landed with the words. Asylum 
qucerimus. Among their American brethren they 
found not only an asylum, but a new home. The 
French empire ushered in better days ; but with the 
restoration of the old regime came the former preju- 
dices and persecutions. In 1818, John VI. pro- 
mulgated from the Brazils an edict against aU secret 

Persecutions of Freemasonry. 371 

societies, including Freemasonry; and again in 
1823j a similar though, more stringent proclamation 
appeared in Lisbon. The punishment of death 
therein awarded has been reduced to fine and trans- 
portation to Africa. 

In Austria, the papal bulls provoked persecutions 
and seizures ; hence arose the order of the Mopses 
(274) , which spread through Holland, Belgium, and 
France. In 1747, thirty masons were arrested and 
imprisoned at Vienna. Maria Theresa, having been 
unable to discover the secrets of the order, issued a 
decree to arrest aU masons, but the measure was 
finstratedbythe good sense of the Emperor Josephl., 
who was himself a mason, and therefore knew that 
the pursuits of the order were innocent enough. 
Francis II., at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1794, de- 
manded the suppression of aU masonic societies 
throughout Germany ; but Hanover, Brunswick, and 
Prussia united with the smaller states in refusing 
their assent. 

The history of Freemasonry in Central Italy dur- 
ing the last century and this, as may be supposed, 
is a mere repetition of sufferings, persecutions, and 
misfortunes; the members of the craft being con- 
tinually under punishment, through the intolerance 
of the priesthood and the interference of the civil 

But persecution was not confined to Catholic 
countries. Even in Switzerland, the masons at one 

372 Secret Societies. 

time were persecuted. The Council of Berne, in 
1745, passed a law with certain degrees of punish- 
ment for members of lodges; which law was re- 
newed in 1782. It is now abrogated. Frederick I., 
King of Sweden, a very few years after the intro- 
duction (1736) of Freemasonry, forbade it under 
penalty of death. At present the king is at the 
head of the Swedish craft. The King Frederick 
Augustus III. of Poland caused, in 1739, enact- 
ments to be published, forbidding, under pain of 
severe punishment, the practice of Freemasonry in 
his kingdom. In 1757, the Synod of Stirling 
adopted a resolution debarring all Freemasons from 
the ordinances of religion. In 1799, Lord Eadnor 
proposed in the English Parliament a bill against 
secret societies, and especially against Freemasonry; 
and a similar but equally fruitless attempt against 
the order was made in 1814 by Lord Liverpool. 
The Society is now acknowledged by law; the 
Prince of Wales is one of its members, and is now 
one of its Past Grand Masters. 

280. Anti-Masonic Publications. — One of the 
earliest English publications against Freemasonry 
is " The Freemasons ; an Hudibrastic Poem," Lon- 
don, 1723. It is written in the coarsest style of 
invective, describing the masons as a drunken set 
of revellers, practising aU kinds of filthy rites. 
Several works of no literary merit appeared at 
various intervals between 1726 and 1760, profess- 
ing to reveal the masonic secrets, but their authors 

Persecutions of Freemasonry. 373 

evidently knew nothing of the craft. In 1768, a 
rabid parson published a sermon, entitled "Ma- 
sonry, the Way to Hell." It is beneath criticism. 
Numerous works of a similar tendency, or pro- 
fessing to reveal what masonry was, thenceforth 
appeared at short intervals in England, France, 
Germany, and Italy, such as " Les Plus Secrets 
MystSres de la Ma9onnerie;" " Le Maschere 
Strappate" (The Masks torn ofi) ; " The Veil Re- 
moved, or the Secret of the Revolutions fostered 
by Freemasomy •" Robison's " Proofs of a Conspi- 
racy against all the Religions and Governments of 
Europe carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free- 
masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies,^' a work 
which must have astonished the masons not a little, 
and for which they were no doubt in their hearts 
very grateful to the author, for he makes the masons 
out to be very terrible fellows indeed. Good easy 
men, who only thought of enjoying their "beer 
and 'baccy," and of going through a little mum- 
mery, to find that they were, "unbeknown" to 
themselves, very near upsetting all the thrones of 
Europe ! The work of the Abb^ Barruel is of the 
same stamp ; it is entitled : " M^moires pour servir 
k I'Histoire du Jacobinisme," and is noteworthy for 
nothing but absence of critical power and honesty 
of statement. A great deal is now written against 
Freemasonry; but the writers in most instances 
know neither what Freemasonry is, nor what it 
pretends to be. 



281. . 
^CHISMATIG Bites and Sects.— The pre- 
tended derivation o£ Freemasonry from 
the Knights Templars lias already been 
referred to ; but Masonry, the system, 
not the name, existed before the Order of the Tem- 
ple, and the Templars themselves had masonic rites 
and degrees three hundred years before their 
downfall. Those who, however, maintain the 
above view say that the three assassins symbohze 
the three betrayers of the order, and Hiram the 
Grand Master Molay; and according to the ritual 
of the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes, a Ger- 
man degree, the lights around the coffin signify 
the flames of the pile on which Molay was burnt. 
To the Eosicrucians and to certain German lodges 
Hiram is Christ, and the three assassins, Judas that 
betrays, Peter that denies Him, and Thomas that 
disbelieves His resurrection. The ancient Scotch 
rite had its origin in other false accounts of the 

Schismatic Rites and Sects. 375 

rise of the order. In the last century schisms 
without number arose in the masonic body. It 
would be impossible in a work like this to name 
them all ; a few only can be referred to. Out of 
the non-masonic society of the Eosicrucians was 
formed in 1777 an association, calling itself the 
"Brothers of the Golden Eosy Cross." It was 
very numerous in Germany, the Netherlands, and 
Sweden. A second schism from the Eosicrucians 
was the " Society of the Initiated Brothers of 
Asia," which was originated in 1780, and whose 
pursuits were those of alchemy. Its existence was 
but brief. EolKng, a member, in 1787 published 
in priut its laughable secrets. A lodge was founded 
in 1768 by one Schroepfer in his own house, where 
he conjured up ghosts ! The Eing of Saxony, 
being incredulous, had him flogged as an impostor. 
The charlatan disguised himself, assumed the title 
of Count de Steinville, went to the Court of Dres- 
den and frightened the king with horrible appari- 
tions. This was his revenge, but the French 
ambassador discovered the cheat. Schroepfer 
escaped to Leipsic and began afresh his mum- 
meries. But having promised his dupes more than 
he could accomplish, he shot himself in the wood of 
Eosenthal, near Leipzig. The " Moravian Brothers 
of the Order of Eeligioua Freemasons, or Order of 
the Mustard- Seed," was another German rite, 
founded in 1739. Its mysteries were founded on 

376 Secret Societies. 

the passage in St. Mark iv., in which Christ com- 
pares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard- 
seed. The brethren recognized each other by a 
ring inscribed with the words : — " No one of ns 
lives for himself." The jewel was a cross of gold, 
surmounted by a mustard-plant with the words : — 
"What was it before ? Nothing." Nearly all the 
degrees of the Scotch rite are schismatic. In like 
manner all the English and American orders of chi- 
valry, and their conclaves and encampments, are 
ridiculous parodies of ancient chivalry. 

In 1758, Lacorne, a dancing master, and Pirlet^ 
a tailor, invented the degree of the " Council of the 
Emperors of the Bast and West," whose members 
assumed the titles of " Sovereign Prince Masons, 
Substitutes General of the Royal Art, Grand Super- 
intendents and Officers of the Grand and Sovereign 
Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem." The ritual 
consisted of twenty-five degrees, and as it was cal- 
culated by its sounding titles and splendour of 
ritual to flatter the vanity of the fidvolous, it was at 
first very successfal ; and Lacorne conferred on one 
of his creatures, a Hebrew, the degree of Inspector, 
and sent him to America to spread the order there. 
In 1797, other Jews added eight new degrees, 
giving to this agglomeration of thirty-three pom- 
pous degrees, the title of " Ancient and Accepted 
Scotch Rite." The Grand Orient of France, seeing 
its own influence declining, proposed advantageous 

SchismatiG Rites and Sects. 377 

and honourable terms to the Supreme Grand Coun- 
cil, wliicli was at the head of the Scotch rite, and 
an agreement was come to in 1804. The Grand 
Orient retaining the first name, received into its 
bosom the Supreme Grand Council and the rich 
'American symboUsm. But the connection did not 
prosper, and was dissolved in 1805. Again, what 
is called Mark-Masonry in England is considered 
spurious ; whilst in Scotland and Ireland it is held 
to be an essential portion of Freemasonry, These 
are curious anomalies. 

282. "Ludicrous Degree. — The following lodge 
was actually established about 1717. Some joyous 
companions, having passed the degree of craft, 
resolved to form a lodge for themselves. Aa none 
of them knew the Master's part, they at once in- 
vented and adopted a ritual which suited every 
man's humour. Hence it was ordered that every 
person during initiation should wear boots, spurs, 
a sword, and spectacles. The apron was turned 
upside down. To simplify the work of the lodge, they 
abolished the practice of studying geometry — which 
was sheer pretence, for the only geometry a mason 
studies in the lodge is that mentioned by Hudibras : 

" For he, by geometric scale, 
Could take the size of pots of ale ; 
Eesolve by sines and tangents straight, 
If bread or butter wanted weight." 

Some of the members proved that a good knife 

378 Secret Societies. 

and fork in the hands of a dexterous brother, over 
proper materials, would give greater satisfaction 
and add more to the rotundity of the lodge than 
the best scale and compass in Europe ; adding that 
a Une, a square, a parallelogram, a rhombus, a rhom- 
boid, a triangle, a trapezium, a circle, a semi-circle, 
a quadrant, a parabola, a hyperbola, a cube, a 
parallelepipedon, a prism, a prismoid, a pyramid, a 
cylinder, a curve, a cyKndroid, a sphere, a spheroid, 
a paraboloid, a cycloid, a paracentric, fiiistmna, 
segments, sectors, gnomons, pentagons, hexagons, 
polygons, ellipses, and irregular figures of all. sorts, 
might be drawn and represented upon bread, beef, 
mutton, ham, fowls, pies, etc., as demonstratively 
as upon sheets of paper or the tracing board, and 
that the use of the globes might be taught and ex- 
plained as clearly and briefly upon two bottles as 
upon any twenty-eight inch spheres. 



\BEEMA80NBY in Spain and Poi-tu- 
gal. — ^In 1726, the Grand Lodge of 
England granted a patent for the esta- 
blishment of a lodge at Gibraltar; 
another was founded in the following year at Ma- 
dridj whichj declaring itself independent of foreign 
supervision, established lodges at Cadiz, Barcelona, 
Valladolid, and other places. The Inquisition, 
seeing the danger that threatened the Church, 
fersecuted the order; hence the mystery that 
surrounds the labours of the brotherhood in the 
Iberian peninsula. 

In Portugal, the first lodges were founded, not 
under English, but under French auspices; but 
English influence soon made itself felt in the esta- 
blishment of additional lodges, though in great 
aecresy ; which, however, did not save many Free- 

380 Secret Societies. 

masons from becoming the victims of the Inqui- 

284. Freemasonry in Bussia. — In 1731, Free- 
masonry dared to oppose itself to Russian despotism 
which, not fearing and probahly despising it, did 
not molest it. The times were unpropitious. The 
sanguinary Biren ruled the Empress Anne, when 
by ipeans of the amorous fascination he exercisec 
upon her, he easily persuaded to commit all Idndi 
of folly and cruelty ; and Masonry, though it knsTi 
itself to be tolerated, yet did not feel secure, anc 
cautiously kept itself in the background. In 1740 
England founded a lodge at St. Petersburg, anc 
sent thither a Grand Master. The order spread ii 
the provinces, and in 1763 the lodge " G\io" wa 
opened at Moscow. Catherine II. wished to knoT 
its statutes, perceiving the advantage or ipjury the; 
might bring to her government as she either pro 
moted or persecuted the association. In the em 
she determined to protect the order; and in 
country where the court leads opinion, lodges soo: 
become the fashion. But Masonry thus becomia| 
the amusement of a wealthy nobility, it soon Ids 
sight of its primitive objects. In no other countr 
probably did the brotherhood possess such gorgeou 
temples ; but, deprived of the vivifying and iavigc 
rating air of liberty, its splendour could not save : 
from a death of inanition. 

286. Freemasonry in Switzerland. — English pre 

Diffusion of the Order. 381 

selytism, always the most activej established a lodge 
at Geneva in 1737, whose first Grand Master was 
George Hamilton. Two years afterwards, the 
foreigners dwelling at Lausanne united and founded 
the lodge called the " Perfect Union of Foreigners." 
Lodges were also opened at Berne ; but the 
mancBuvres of the Grand Lodges of the states sur- 
rounding Switzerland introduced long and fierce 
dissensions. In 1765, the Strict Observance founded 
at Basle the lodge " Liberty, " which became the 
mother-lodge of many others, and, calling itself 
the " German Helvetic Directory," chose for its chief 
the celebrated Lavater. Then followed suppres- 
sions; but the order revived, and in 1844 the 
different territorial Grand Lodges united into one 
federal Grand Lodge, caUed "Alpina," which re- 
vised the ancient statutes. The Swiss Freemasons 
intend to erect a grand temple, which perhaps could 
nowhere find a more fitting site than in a country 
where four nations of diverse languages and races 
dwell in perfect liberty, 

286. Freemasowry in Sweden and Folcmd. — In 
1748, Sweden already had many and flourishing 
lodges. In 1754, was instituted the Grand Lodge 
of Sweden, under a patent from the Grand Lodge 
of Scotland; it afterwards declared its autonomy, 
which has been recognized by aU the masonic 
bodies of Europe. 

Freemasonry, at first suppressed in Poland, was 

382 Secret Societies. 

revived under Stanislaus Augustus, and the auspices 
of tlie Grand Orient of France, who estabUshec 
lodges in various towns of that country. These 
united in 1784 to form a Grand Orient, having its 
seat at Warsaw. 

287. Freemasonry in Holland amd Germany. — In 
Holland the Freemasons opened, a lodge in 1731, 
under the warrant of the Grand Lodge of England ; 
it was, however, only what is called a lodge of emer- 
gency, having been called to initiate the Duke of 
Tuscany, afterwards Francis I., Emperor of Ger- 
many. The first regular lodge was established at 
the Hague in 1734, which, five years after, took the 
name of " Mother-lodge." Numerous lodges were 
opened throughout the country, and also in the 
Dutch colonies ; and the Freemasons founded many 
schools, with the avowed object of withdrawing 
instruction from clerical influence. 

In Germany lodges were numerous as early as 
the middle of last century, so that in the present 
one we have witnessed the centenaries of many of 
them — as for instance, in 1887, of that of Hamburg ; 
in 1840, of that of Berlin ; in 1841, of those of Bres- 
lau, Baireuth, Leipzig, and many more. 

288. Freemasonry in Turkey, Asia, Africa, and 
Oceania. — The order also spread into Turkey, where, 
however, as may be supposed, for a long time it 
led but a harassed existence. Lodges were esta- 
blished at Constantinople, Smyrna, and Aleppo j and 

Diffusion of the Order. 383 

it may be mentioned, as a fact in favour of Free- 
masonry, that the Turkisli Freemasons are in a 
more advanced state of civilization than is usual 
among Orientals generally. They reject polygamy, 
and at the Masonic banquets the women appear 
unveiled ; so that whatever their western sisters 
may have to say against Masonry, the women of 
the Bast certainly are gainers by the introduction 
of the order. 

The most 'important masonic lodges of Asia are 
in India; they are under the jurisdiction of the 
Grand Lodges of England "and Scotland. 

Freemasonry was introduced into Africa by the 
establishment of a lodge at Cape Coast Castle in 
1735. There are now lodges at the Cape of Good 
Hope ; in the islands of Mauritius, Madagascar and 
St. Helena ; and at Algiers, Tunis, Morocco, Cairo, 
and Alexandria. 

Lodges have existed since 1828 at Sydney, Mel- 
bourne, Paramatta, and other places ; in aU about 
two hundred. 

289. Freemasowy in America. — ^The first lodge 
established in Canada was at Cape Breton, in the 
year 1745. Lodges existed from as early a period in 
the West Indian Islands. On the establishment of 
the Brazilian empire, a Grand Lodge was initiated ; 
and in 1825 Don Pedro I. was elected its Grand 
Master. In 1825, the Grand Lodge of Mexico was 
instituted, where the Liberals and Federalists joined 

384 Secret Societies. 

the York rite, wMlst the Clerics, Monarchists, and 
Centralizers adopted the Scotch rite ; the two par- 
ties carrying on a relentless war. Texas, Venezuela, 
and the turbulent republics of South America, all 
had their masonic lodges, which were in many cases 
political clubs in disguise. 

The lodges in the territory now forming the 
United States date as far back as 1729. Until the 
close of the revolutionary war these were under the 
jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England ; but 
almost every state of the Union now has its own 
Grand Lodge, independent of all foreign power. 



\AIN Pretensions of Modern Freemasonry. 
—After this necessarily brief account 
of Freemasonry, past and present, . the 
question naturally suggests itself, What 
is its present use ? Is it not an institution that 
has outlived the object of its foundation ? Are its 
pretensions not groundless, and its existence a 
delusion and anachronism ? The answers to all 
these questions must be unfavourable to Free- 
masonry. Its present use is confined to that of any 
other benefit society. It was founded in ages when 
the possession of true religious and scientific know- 
ledge was the privilege of the few, who made the 
cultivation and propagation of such knowledge the 
occupation of their lives. But now that knowledge is 
the birthright of all, and may openly raise its head, 
c c 

386 Secret Societies. 

a society that professes to keep science for the few 
is but a retrograde institution. 

291. Vanity of Masonic Ceremonial. — There are 
thousands of excellent men who have never seen 
the inside of a lodge, and yet are genuine Free- 
masons, i. e. liberal-minded and enlightened men, 
devoted to the study of nature and the progress of 
mankind, moral and intellectual ; men devoid of all 
political and religious prejudices, true cosmopoUtana. 
And there are thousands who have passed through 
every masonic degree, and yet are not masons; 
men who take appearances for realities, the means 
for the end, the ceremonies of the lodge for Free- 
masonry. But the lodge with aU its symbols is 
only the form of the masonic thought. In the pre- 
sent age, however, this form, which was very suit- 
able, nay, necessary, for the time when it was insti- 
tuted, becomes an anachronism. The affectation 
of possessing a secret is a childish and mischievous 
weakness. The objects modern masons profess to 
pursue are brotherly love, relief, and truth ; surely 
the pursuit of these objects cannot need any secret 
rites, traditions, and ceremonies. In spite of the 
great parade made in masonic publications about 
the science and learning peculiar to the craft, what 
■ discovery of new scientific facts or principles can 
masons claim for the order ? Nay, are well-known 
and long- established truths familiar to them, and 

Futility of Modern Freemasonry. 387 

made the objects of study in the lodges ? Nothing 
of the kind. 

292. Masonry diffuses no knowledge. — We get 
neither- science nor learning from a mason, as a 
mason. The order, in fact, abjures religious and poli- 
tical discussion, and yet it pretends that to it man- 
kind is indebted for its progress, and that, were it 
abolished, mental darkness would again overshadow 
the world. But how is this progress to be effected, 
if the chronic diseases in the existing religious 
and political systems of the world are not to be 
jneddled with ? As well might an association for 
the advancement of learning abjure inquiry into 
chemical and mechanical problems, and then boast 
of the benefits it conferred on science ! It is Hamlet 
with the part of Hamlet omitted. If then Masonry 
wishes to live on, and be something more than a 
society of Odd FeUows or Druids, new lodges must 
be formed by educated men — not by the mere 
, pubhcans and other tradesmen that now found 
lodges to create a market for their goods — who 
might do some good by teaching moral and natural 
philosophy from a deeper ground than the scholastic 
and .grossly material basis on which all teaching at 
present is founded, and by rescuing science from the 
degraded position of handmaiden to mere physical 
comfort, into which modern materialism has forced 
it. They might found Masonic Colleges, where the 

388 Secret Societies. 

night-side of physics and metaphysics, which is 
the very mother of all Vax e tenebris, as the Masonic 
motto has it, would be revealed to the properly 
qualified student, who would thus be enabled to see 
not only how a thing is, but why it is so. 

293. Masonry is unfitted for the tash. — That is to 
say, let such masonic societies be formed, if Masonry 
can be shown to be a necessary institution, and 
societies the best means for promoting the discovery 
of truth, and the spread of knowledge. 

But are societies the most suitable means for the 
discovery of scientific or any other truths ? Learned 
societies as a rule are merely mutual admiration 
societies, diversified by occasional junketings under 
pretence of the pursuit of knowledge. IHscoveries 
are made by private individuals, whilst societies 
simply seek to guide all the rills of knowledge into 
their reservoir, to proclaim themselves the pos- 
sessors of the treasures, the search after which, had 
they been consulted beforehand, they would probably 
have condemned or ridiculed. No invention or dis- 
covery of any note can be named that owes its 
existence to any society. Hence masonic societies 
would do very little good. Besides the Free- 
masons who are men of talent, are not such be- 
cause they belong to the brotherhood, but in spite 
of it. If the highest knowledge now possessed by 
men were taught in the lodge, it would still be 
knowledge not confined to masons, but diflPased 

Futility of Modern Freemasonry. 389 

among all studious men. Of course, if Masonry 
had. the practical meaning which I theoretically 
ascribe to it, then the case would be altered ; but 
modern Masonry wiU never reach that standard 
needed to make it reaUy the instructor of man- 

294. Decay of Freemasonry. — Selfishness, an eye 
to business, vanity, frivolity, gluttony, and a love 
of ■mystery-m.ongering, concealed under the specious 
.pretence of brotherly love and a longing for instruc- 
tion — these are the motives that lead men into the 
lodge. The facility and frequency with which' 
worthless characters are received into the order; 
the manner in which all its statutes are disregarded ; 
the dislike with which every brother who insists on 
reform is looked upon by the rest ; the difficulty of 
expelling obnoxious members ; the introduction of 
many spurious rites, and the deceptiveness of the 
rites themselves, designed to excite curiosity without 
ever satisfying it ; the puerility of the symbolism ; 
the paltriness of the secret when revealed to the 
candidate, and his iU-concealed disgust when at 
last he gets behind the scenes and sees through the 
rotten canvas that forms so beautiful a landscape in 
front — aU these too plainly show that the lodge has 
banished Freemasonry. And like monasticism or 
chivalry, it is no longer wanted. Having no political 
influence and no political aspirations, or, when it 
has such aspirations revealing them by insane 

390 Secret Societies. 

excesses, sucli as the late citation before masonic 
tribunals of Napoleon III., the Emperor of Germany, 
the Crown Prince, the Pope, and Marshal Prim, by 
French, Italian, and Spanish masons respectively, 
and under the Grand Masterships of Cremieux, 
Garibaldi, and others of the same revolutionary and 
violent principles, and after a farcical sham trial, 
condemning the accused so cited — to which sum- 
mons of course they paid no attention — to death, 
or in plain English, to assassination, a crime really 
perpetrated on the person of Marshal Prim ; being 
no longer even a secret society — for a society sanc- 
tioned by the State, as Freemasonry is, cannot 
be called a secret society ; having no industrial or 
intellectual rallying-point^it must eventually die 
from sheer inanition. It may prolong its existence 
by getting rid of all the rites and ceremonies which 
are neither simple nor grand, nor founded on any 
authority or symbolic meaning, and by renouncing 
the sUly pretence of secrets, and undertaking to 
teach what I have sketched in various portions of 
this work, concerning the origin and meaning of 
Masonry and its symbols, illustrating its teaching 
by the ornaments and practice of the lodges. This 
seems to be the only ground on which Free- 
masonry could claim to have its lease of existence, 
as Freemasonry, renewed. 

295. Masonic Literature. — It is almost absurd 
to talk of masonic literature; it scarcely exists. 

Futility of Modern Freemasonry. 391 

Except the works written by Oliver, Mackay, Findel, 
and Ragon, there is scarcely anything worth reading 
about Freemasonry, of which a Freemason is the 
author. The countless lectures by brethren, with 
a few exceptions, consist of mere truisms and plati- 
tudes, very much like twaddling sermons, published 
by request. Its periodical literature — in this country 
at all events — ^is essentially of the Grub Street kind, 
consisting of mere trade-circulars, supported by- 
puffing masonic tradesmen and vain officials, who 
like to have their working in the lodge trumpeted 
forth in this fashion : " The way in which he had 
worked the ceremonies that evening was a great 
teeat to the lodge." ''The W. M. proceeded to 
instal him in that fluent and impressive manner for 
which he is known," &c. &c. — or by brethren who 
like to have their speeches or attempted speeches 
recorded, in this style : " Brother W. felt a little 
nervous, but hoped to be an ornament to the 
lodge "(!) "^ Brother D. had presided at a dish, 
and it had afforded him much satisfaction, inasmuch 
as he had had it in his power to make some brethren 
comfortable," &c. I am not inventing, but actually 
copying from a masonic newspaper, and might fill 
pages with siinilar stuff. All attempts permanently 
to establish masonic periodicals of a higher order 
have hitherto failed from want of encouragement. 
The fact is, men of education take very little interest 
in Masonry, for it has nothing to offer them in an 

392 Secret Societies. 

intellectual point of view; because even masons who 
have attained to every ne plus ultra of the institu- 
tion, know nothing of its origin and meaning. As 
to masonic poetry, the poet laureate to Moses and 
the Profits would not acknowledge one line of it ; 
the bard Close would indignantly repudiate it.